As NAFTA Meetings Progress, Ag Industry's Seat at the Table Remains Empty with Doud Still on HoldThu, 25 Jan 2018 10:33:48 CST
Yet another round of NAFTA renegotiations is underway this week in Montreal, Canada. Trade Specialist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Kent Bacus is there attending the event, representing the beef industry and keeping an eye on these proceedings for cattle producers back home.
“I think it’s important for the beef industry to have a presence at this negotiation round. A lot of the previous rounds have been technical and this will actually be a ministerial round. The trade ministers will be there including Ambassador Lighthizer,” Bacus said. “It’s important for us to show our support for these negotiations and also for the benefits that NAFTA has given the industry.”
Bacus says the US beef industry simply cannot afford to lose market access to either Canada and Mexico, let alone both, which he says are each a billion-dollar market for American producers. Participating in this event, he hopes to help in moving talks forward with a positive message. So far, he says negotiators have done a good job at keeping agricultural trade out of the crosshairs, instead with most of the focus targeting manufacturing, specifically on automotive. But while the ag sector has remained relatively unscathed at this point, Bacus says we are still at a disadvantage in these talks, referring to the absence of a chief agriculture negotiator. Greg Doud has been appointed to the post by President Trump, but the Senate has yet to confirm him - held up by Jeff Flake, a senator from Arizona with a bone to pick.
“That sends a message to the people across the table that maybe we’re not being as serious as we should. This is something that the Senate has to resolve,” he asserted. “We cannot afford to go another month, another NAFTA negotiation round without full representation at the table. We have to get that hold lifted.”
Listen to Kent Bacus of NCBA report from Montreal on this week’s NAFTA negotiations with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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