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Farm Groups Urge Trump to Preserve NAFTA
The Trump administration is mulling a draft executive order to pull the U.S. out of NAFTA, says a senior White House official, according to Reuters. NAFTA renegotiations were expected to start in August, but a withdrawal by the U.S. could rush the timeline.
Trump disparaged the trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada throughout his presidential campaign, citing the 2016 $63-billion trade deficit with Mexico.
But major farm groups are alarmed at Trump’s opposition to the deal. “Withdrawing from NAFTA would be disastrous for American agriculture. We cannot disrupt trade with two of our top trade partners and allies. This decision will cost America’s farmers and ranchers markets that we will never recover,” said Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association, responding to news that the White House might be moving to cancel NAFTA.
American Soybean Association President Ron Moore also discouraged Trump from making enemies of two of America’s top trading partners. “Soybean farmers sent more than $2.5 billion in soybeans, meal, and oil to Mexico last year, making it our number two market overall and the leading purchaser of U.S. meal and oil,” the farmer said. “Canada is number three in meal sales and number 10 in oil. Add to that the sales of the meat, dairy, and eggs that require soy meal as animal feed, our North American partners are unquestionably among the most vital and vibrant markets for American soybeans.”
The National Pork Producers Council claimed in a similar statement that “tens of thousands” of jobs would be lost if NAFTA exports were interrupted, since Mexico and Canada are the number two and number four export destinations, respectively, for American pork. The National Association of American Wheat Growers and the U.S. Wheat Associates also circulated a joint call for Trump to rethink his NAFTA exit, pointing out that Mexico buys 10% of all U.S. wheat — more than any other country.