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Key Topic – NAFTA

On May 18, 2017, the Trump administration officially notified Congress of its intent to renegotiate NAFTA. A Federal Register notice was also published with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) accepting public comments on the direction, focus, and content of the NAFTA negotiations. The comment period ended June 14.

From USMEF’s standpoint, it is absolutely essential that U.S. negotiators protect the benefits that NAFTA has delivered for U.S. red meat exports and work to maintain duty-free access for these products in Mexico and Canada. The U.S. industry must be prepared to defend the favorable terms currently in place for U.S. meat and explain the importance of the Mexican and Canadian markets, which currently take about 40 percent of U.S. pork export volume and 30 percent of our beef exports. (In 2016, the combined value of those exports was $3.9 billion.) In addition, USMEF noted in its comments that NAFTA’s chapter on sanitary and phytosanitary measures should be strengthened and that the agreement should accommodate e-commerce.

UPDATE: On July 17, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published its list of objectives for the NAFTA renegotiations. On a very positive note, topping the list of objectives for agricultural trade is to maintain existing reciprocal duty-free market access for agricultural goods. USMEF summarized the full list of published objectives in this Exporter Update. USTR also announced that the first round of NAFTA negotiations will be held Aug. 16-20 in Washington, D.C.