Farm states where Trump base is usually strong could feel pain without NAFTA

“The major agricultural states inside U.S. which actually sell to Canada as well as also also Mexico are places which voted for Trump in big numbers,” said Inu Manak, a visiting fellow at the Cato Institute, the libertarian think tank. “In which sense, I think the item’s also important for him not to touch the item too much as well as also also not kind of disrupt these very important constituents who benefit so much through NAFTA.”

Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Texas as well as also also South Dakota are among the states where 27 percent or more of all agricultural exports go to Mexico, according to data released by the group Farmers for Free Trade, a bipartisan group.

yet not everyone in agriculture thinks Trump should back off.

Tony DiMare, who has worked in Florida’s agriculture industry for 35 years, said he agrees with the president which the current trade deal between the U.S., Mexico as well as also also Canada is usually flawed. In fact, he blames the item for hurting his family’s fresh tomato business.

He insisted which something must be done, alleging which Mexico isn’t practicing fair trade under NAFTA. He said the trade pact allows Mexico to “dump” seasonal tomatoes as well as also also additional fresh produce into the U.S. market.

The Trump administration, the third-generation tomato grower said, should continue to insist on alterations to the trade pact which would likely allow U.S. seasonal growers to compete more effectively.

According to DiMare, Mexico has turned vast areas which were once open farm acreage into a greenhouse environment in order which growers can produce tomatoes as well as also also additional crops on a year-round basis as well as also also compete with seasonal growers in Florida, Georgia as well as also also additional states. Beyond which, the item’s tough to compete with Mexico’s cheap labor costs, he conceded.

Indeed, some southeast agricultural groups representing specialty fruit as well as also also vegetable producers are fed up with NAFTA as well as also also want the item changed so they can pursue anti-subsidy as well as also also anti-dumping cases or seek temporary import quotas. At the same time, some of the dairy-producing bordering states with Canada, including Wisconsin as well as also also brand new York, want fixes for what they consider protectionist dairy trade policies up north.

Still, larger agriculture groups such as the American Farm Bureau Federation as well as also also National Cattlemen’s Association generally are largely supportive of NAFTA. The beef industry has thrived on NAFTA as well as also also wants to continue to have duty-free access to Canadian as well as also also Mexican markets.

On the third day of the sixth round of NAFTA re-negotiations in Montreal, agricultural groups as well as also also others are closely monitoring the situation as well as also also worrying which Trump might make not bad on threats to ditch the pact.

Reuters reported Thursday which the talks have led to “few signs of progress.”

Mexico as well as also also Canada together represent nearly one-third of total U.S. agricultural exports. Corn, wheat, soybeans, fresh fruits as well as also also vegetables as well as livestock as well as also also dairy are major U.S. exports to those countries. In response to NAFTA’s uncertainty, Mexico has strengthened its trade ties with major producers in Latin America as well as also also looked for brand new suppliers of corn, wheat as well as also also soybeans, among additional commodities.

Mexico was the top export market for U.S. corn last year, so American corn farmers, who are a large part of the economy in Midwestern states, could be big losers if NAFTA gets killed.

“NAFTA is usually a not bad damn deal for Texas,” said C. Parr Rosson, professor as well as also also head of the department of agricultural economics at Texas A&M University. “Not only agriculture, yet a lot of industries in Texas are pushing hard to get This particular thing fixed.”

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, a longtime agriculture businessman, has been pushing Trump to fix NAFTA as well as also also not toss the item out of the window.

Earlier This particular month, Perdue said U.S. negotiators had already “put several proposals on the table to modernize NAFTA, as well as also also critically for agriculture, to address key sectors left out of the original agreement — dairy as well as also also poultry tariffs in Canada.”

For one, the Trump administration has accused Canada of essentially shutting out U.S. dairy producers in so-called ultrafiltered milk, which is usually used to make cheese, yogurt as well as also also ice cream. Last April, Trump called the Canadian action “a disgrace” as well as also also also tweeted about the item: “Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin as well as also also additional border states very difficult.”

U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal 2017 totaled $140.5 billion, up nearly $11 billion through the prior year. Canada was the number two ag export customer last year after China, as well as also also Mexico was the third-largest, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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