Business & Policy
Canadian, U.S. and Mexican farm groups support modernized NAFTA
By Top Crop Manager
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and Consejo Nacional Agropecuario (CNA) have sent a joint letter to Canadian, American and Mexican government officials, reiterating their calls that re-negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) should aim to modernize the agreement, rather than dismantle it.
The CFA, AFBF and CNA agree agriculture represents one of NAFTA’s biggest success stories, noting agricultural reciprocal trade between the three countries has grown exponentially since NAFTA was implemented more than 20 years ago.
“NAFTA has boosted the incomes of millions of farmers and has facilitated the development of profitable export markets,” said Ron Bonnett, president of the CFA.
In their discussions, the three ag group presidents agreed on the need to build on the original agreement’s success by looking for ways to increase trade volumes.
“When it comes to overall positive results for North America’s farmers and ranchers, NAFTA has proved itself as a solid foundation for trade. Just as farmers have new tools and technology for food and fibre production, we believe that an updated NAFTA agreement can help the three nations become even stronger trading partners,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president.
CNA president Bosco de la Vega added the economic benefits of trade are very clear. “The NAFTA agreement has had a positive impact for the agricultural sector, including the exponential increase in trade flows between its partners. Currently NAFTA markets are characterized by high level of complementarity, the possibility to face the challenge of food security in a better way, an open trade system with clear and fair rules. Taking these into account, we believe that today the NAFTA members have a big opportunity to even increase this positive outcome.”
All parties further committed to meeting with their governments to insist NAFTA re-negotiations should be built on the principle of “doing no harm.”
They argue NAFTA discussions should seek:
- Increased and improved regulatory alignment.
- Improved flow of goods at border crossings.
- Further alignment of sanitary and phytosanitary measures using a science-based approach.
- Elimination of non-science based technical barriers to trade.
- Revisions that reflect technological advances since NAFTA’s implementation, such as digital trade, etc.
The CFA, AFBF and CNA agree agriculture industries in each NAFTA country would greatly suffer from disruptions to trading relationships developed over the last 23 years, and note farmers have increased productivity and improved their competitiveness to address the rapidly growing demand worldwide for healthy and sustainable food products. They argue losses due to NAFTA changes would severely stunt this progress.
All three groups said they are committed to working with their respective administrations to ensure a modernized NAFTA continues to be a success story for all farmers.