The Industry Responds to NAFTA Termination
UNITED STATES - News broke yesterday that President Trump and President Enrique Peña Nieto agreed to dissolve the North American Free Trade Agreement in favor of The United States-Mexico Trade Agreement.
However, many have reported that Trump will need Congress’ approval for any new trade agreement, leading POTUS to clarify he was doing away with the name NAFTA—but that The United States-Mexico Trade Agreement will still exclude Canada.
"They used to call it NAFTA," President Trump said in a press conference at the Oval Office. "We're going to call it the United States-Mexico Trade Agreement. We'll get rid of the name NAFTA. It has a bad connotation because the United States was treated very very badly for NAFTA."
As one of the biggest issues our industry faces, many representatives from produce and agriculture have come forward with their thoughts on this latest development.
“I am pleased that the United States and Mexico have found a way to sort out their differences in what has been a lengthy re-negotiation fraught with highs, lows, tariffs, and tweets,” Matt Mandel, Sunfed’s VP of Operations, told ANUK. “Mexico is the United States’ third largest trading partner and the success or failure of our economies is intertwined. While we are still a ways off from a new agreement being in place, this is tremendous progress, and I look forward to a successful tri-lateral agreement (including Canada) sometime in the very near future.”
Not everyone in the industry is so optimisitic about the transition. CBS News reported it is unclear yet whether Canada will be a part of the revised agreement, reporting that President Trump said “we’ll see” if Canada can be a part of the deal with Mexico or if the U.S. and Canada will have to strike up their own deal.
“We’re starting negotiations with Canada pretty much immediately,” Trump said.
The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) responded to the news with its own statement, asserting that it was “encouraged” by the news.
“CPMA was reassured by the Mexican President’s continued reference to including Canada in future discussions and moving towards a new trilateral trade agreement given the integration of trade between NAFTA countries. Canadian negotiators have been steadfast in their support for the industry and are well briefed on issues affecting fresh produce, including the seasonality provision, the elimination of Chapter 19, and the sunset clause. It is our understanding that the seasonality provision has been removed from the U.S.-Mexico agreement and will not be part of the discussions moving forward. CPMA has long advocated for the removal of the seasonality provision and is pleased that it will not be a feature of a future trilateral agreement,” CPMA stated.
The end of NAFTA did not speak positively to everyone in our industry, however, with Mike Stuart, President of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, issuing a statement that outlined the plight low-costing fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico have caused for family farms in the U.S.
“This is not the outcome we have worked for,” Stuart said about President Trump’s decision to end NAFTA. “However, the President has promised to help safeguard farmers, and we will continue working diligently and persistently with the administration on solutions to stop Mexico’s unfair trading practices and to help our fruit and vegetable industry survive,” Stuart stated. “FFVA appreciates the support and efforts of our Congressional delegation on this issue. Our members of Congress understand the unfair trade environment fostered by NAFTA. Working with them and the Administration, FFVA is committed to fighting destructive trade practices through all means possible to help our farmers compete on fair terms and stay in business.”
AndNowUKnow will continue to report as development pertaining to NAFTA and a trilateral agreement occur.