Published: Mon, May 22, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

German minister backs NAFTA on Mexico visit, urges USA support

German minister backs NAFTA on Mexico visit, urges USA support

But many farmers are nervous about another plank in Trump's agenda: His vow to overhaul USA trade policy, including his intent announced Thursday to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

Washington last month imposed tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber exports, triggering the fifth formal bilateral dispute over timber in less than 40 years. Trade negotiations often take years. As the US plots its course for reshaping the deal, . He also emphasized the importance of effectively implementing and aggressively enforcing the commitments made by Canada and Mexico, two of the dairy industry's top trade partners.

"We look forward to working with the administration to strengthen the agreement in a seamless way and ensure that we retain the current benefits for American workers, farmers and businesses", said Texas Republican Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

"U.S. pork trade with Canada and Mexico has been very robust, and we need to maintain and even improve that trade", Maschhoff said.

"For example, digital trade was in its infancy when NAFTA was enacted".

Recently the Trump administration announced a mini-deal with China on trade - the first fruits of a larger effort to renegotiate the US-China trade relationship. Admittedly, they expected TPP to help them mainly by granting better access to Asian export markets - something that Nafta-plus can't give them.

"The president's leadership on trade will permanently reverse the risky trajectory of American trade", Lighthizer told reporters Thursday. "We ask the United States Trade Representative to submit detailed objectives of these negotiations in a timely manner, and we expect an open and transparent negotiation process - not one written behind closed doors by multi-national corporations".

The National Cotton Council issued a release saying the United States must remain a participant in a "vibrant" North American Free Trade Agreement because it has been and can continue to be a very positive trading platform for US agriculture, including cotton and textiles.

"You don't start off trade negotiations ... by picking fights with your trade partners that are completely unnecessary", says Aaron Lehman, a fifth-generation Iowa farmer who produces corn, soybeans, oats and hay. "There is value in making the transition to a modernized NAFTA as seamless as possible", he said.

The three-member deal, which includes the U.S., Canada and Mexico, has been criticized numerous times by Trump who said it harms the U.S. economy and workers. In part, that's because trade represents a surprisingly small portion of the United States of America economy - 28 percent in 2015, according to the World Bank, one of the lowest shares in the world.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said today that the country will not accept taxes or quotas in a renegotiated NAFTA, Reuters reports.

Lighthizer said he hoped that negotiations could be concluded this year.

Since taking effect in 1994, NAFTA has been a gateway for scores of multinationals to build factories in North America, channeling billions of dollars worth of investment into the region by European companies, many of them German.

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