Egg Industry News

      

Agriculture Groups Concerned over NAFTA Renegotiation

Mar 31, 2017

    

In pre-election comments, President Donald J. Trump characterized the NAFTA agreement as “the worst trade pact the U.S. has ever made”.

A component of the trilateral trade among the three nations includes farm exports to Mexico totaling $18 billion in 2015 up from $4.2 billion in 1994 when NAFTA was introduced.

  

At the present time, U.S. farmers supply 13.3 million metric tons of corn representing 100 percent of imports into Mexico and 564,000 metric tons of dairy products or 73 percent of the Nation’s imports.  In January 2017 the U.S. livestock products exported to Mexico included 51,000 metric tons of broiler meat valued at $40 million, 12,000 metric tons of turkey valued at $26 million and shell egg and egg products approaching $1 million.

While members of the new Administration including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross believe that hungry nations will continue to import U.S. agricultural products despite trade restrictions and border taxes, Mexico may impose barriers to U.S. agricultural products if a border tax is placed on consumer durables and automobiles which contribute to the $60 billion, 2016 trade surplus.  Mexico also benefits from a $7 billon agricultural surplus by providing the U.S. with vegetables and fruit.  A secondary consideration is that U.S. farmers particularly in the Pacific West are highly dependent on Mexican labor to grow and pick vegetables and fruit given the disinclination of U.S.-born citizens to engage in agriculture labor. Many of the potential U.S. labor pool receive welfare benefits.

The message of the agriculture associations and their lobbyists is that while renegotiation of NAFTA may have obvious benefits in the industrial sector, advantages to agriculture must be considered in negotiations.