The fourth round of negotiations for the North American Free Trade (NAFTA) agreement is in progress this week. American, Mexican, and Canadian negotiators are entering some of the more difficult subject matter the sides have to deal with. International Trade and Customs Attorney Dan Ujczo said the tone of Trump Administration negotiators is getting more aggressive.
He says the U.S. positions will continue to get more aggressive in round four on things like automotive rules-of-origin that are more stringent than in any other free-trade agreement in the world.
Ujczo expects supply-management in Canada to be brought up in this round. Canada’s supply management policies have made it very difficult for U.S. dairy, poultry, and eggs to get into the Canadian marketplace. Canada has said it’s a “red-line” that they aren’t willing to budge on. Ujczo said it’s a possibility that the Trump administration is counting on that.
Ujczo’s opinion is if Mexico and Canada don’t walk away from NAFTA, the Trump administration will by the end of the year. He says the president campaigned on getting rid of NAFTA or making it friendlier to the U.S. Trump has spoken out publicly against NAFTA since the 1990s.
A lot of the pressure to tear up NAFTA is coming from the manufacturing sector. He says Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue literally saved NAFTA back in April during discussions with the president. Ujczo says it’s important for the ag industry to realize that withdrawal is a very real possibility.
Ujczo says it may be time for Congress to get involved with the negotiations, at least in terms of oversight. As a 20-year advocate for trade issues, he says it’s more important than ever for agriculture to keep the pressure on their elected officials regarding the importance of NAFTA.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.