The following statement regarding the announcement of trade progress with Mexico, and the the Agriculture Department’s tariff mitigation package, can be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall:
Trade Progress with Mexico is a Good Start
“Farmers and ranchers are ready to move forward on trade with our nearest neighbors. Farm Bureau is excited about this announcement and will review the details of the Mexican trade deal as they become available.
“Based on the gains both sides have seen with NAFTA, we expect this new ‘U.S.-Mexico Preliminary Agreement in Principle’ to build on that success for our farmers and ranchers. No trade deal is perfect, however. There is room for improvement, especially in provisions that affect U.S. fruit and vegetable growers, and we will continue to call for a resolution to those issues and a final deal that works for all of agriculture.
“This is the kind of trade news we have been waiting for. In a time when the U.S. economy is booming our farmers have been left behind. Open markets and good trade agreements will give American agriculture the opportunity to be a part of this booming economy. So we encourage the Administration to keep moving forward with Canada to address their anticompetitive milk pricing provisions. We need negotiators to convince Canadian officials that they, too, will benefit from a revised treaty. We are hopeful that the value of a continued and improved NAFTA for all will bring everyone back to the negotiating table.
“We are grateful for progress with Mexico, but there is still a lot of work to do outside of North America and we can’t stop here. We also need to resolve our trade issues with China to create better opportunities for American farmers and ranchers there. We look forward to working with the Administration to strengthen agricultural exports in new and existing markets around the world.”
Tariff Relief Welcome, Farmers Still Need Open Markets
“The administration’s tariff mitigation package is welcome relief from the battering our farmers and ranchers are taking in the ongoing trade war. There is no doubt that the tariffs from nations like China have led to lower crop and livestock prices. This comes on top of nearly five years of falling commodity prices that have led to lower revenues and higher debt levels for farmers and ranchers. Nationwide, income is at a 12-year low, so any assistance that may help farmers is greatly appreciated: We lost more than 150,000 farms to consolidation and financial failure in the U.S. during the decade that ended in 2017.
“The additional burden of tariffs on the goods we sell to China, Canada, Mexico and the European Union has been more than many farmers can bear. Today’s aid announcement gives us some breathing room, but it will keep many of us going only a few months more. The real solution to this trade war is to take a tough stance at the negotiating table and quickly find a resolution with our trading partners. If we’re going to turn our farm economy around for the long-term, we need to open more export markets with fair trade deals, and the sooner, the better.”
Source: American Farm Bureau Federation