WASHINGTON — A preliminary agreement has been reached by the United States and Mexico to update the 24-year-old NAFTA pact with modern provisions.
U.S. President Donald Trump intends to replace NAFTA with the new agreement.
“We’re going to call it the United States-Mexico Trade Agreement, and we’ll get rid of the name NAFTA,” Mr. Trump said. “It has a bad connotation because the United States was hurt very badly by NAFTA for many years. And now it’s a really good deal for both countries, and we look very much forward to it.”
The main objective of the United States-Mexico Trade Agreement for the agriculture industry is to maintain zero tariffs on agricultural products.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the U.S.-Mexico trade agreement achieved improvements to NAFTA that will enable U.S. agricultural producers to treated more fairly.
“The agreement specifically addresses agricultural biotechnology to keep up with 21st Century innovations,” Mr. Perdue said. “And we mutually pledge to work together with Mexico to reduce trade-distorting policies, increase transparency, and ensure non-discriminatory treatment in grading of agricultural products.”
U.S. grain associations look forward to the new partnership and securing an open trade market.
“We are grateful for the news today that the United States and Mexico have reached an agreement that will keep NAFTA modernization efforts moving,” said Tom Sleight, president and chief executive officer of the U.S.G.C. “This agreement is a major step forward for our relationship with Mexico and is a result of hard work over the last year to closely examine our vital partnership.”
The American Soybean Association also is encouraged by the new agreement with Mexico.
“We need NAFTA and new free trade agreements to build and ensure the certainty of our markets for soy and livestock product exports,” said John Heisdorffer, president of the A.S.A. “Approval of NAFTA would be a big step in the right direction for us, with the uncertainty and market loss resulting from China’s tariff on U.S. soybeans. We are hopeful that a new NAFTA agreement will set the tone for more trade agreements to come.”
The U.S. Wheat Associates and National Association of Wheat Growers are glad to see renegotiation and build on opportunities with the existing agreement.
As many associations and government agencies support open trade with Mexico they are looking toward trade with Canada.
“Mexico is extremely important to every sector we represent,” Mr. Sleight said. “Yet, so too is Canada, our second largest ethanol market and a top ten corn market. We hope the agreement today opens the door for Canada’s reengagement, and we continue to oppose withdrawal from the existing NAFTA under any circumstances except the adoption of a new, beneficial and trilateral pact.”
Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association, added, “Farmers across the country have been closely following NAFTA negotiations and N.C.G.A. welcomes the opportunity to evaluate the details of this agreement with Mexico. However, the trilateral relationship is important, and we urge President Trump not to terminate the underlying agreement until full trilateral negotiations have been concluded and a new agreement is secured. This new agreement has the potential to deliver the economic certainty rural America needs, prematurely terminating the existing agreement would only undermine that potential.”