A Year Later, NAFTA Talks Still Up in the Air - NCBA's Kent Bacus Shares the Latest DevelopmentsMon, 25 Jun 2018 10:15:21 CDT
The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico has been ongoing for some time now, since it was first instigated by the Trump Administration. Kent Bacus, director of international market access for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says even though negotiators have been at this for over a year now, the potential outcome of these negotiations is still very much up in the air.
“This time last year we were hearing about threats of withdrawal and hearing about renegotiation and the whole ag industry was on fire, really nervous about what was going to happen,” Bacus said. “Over the last year, we’ve seen continued negotiations. What we haven’t seen is a conclusion of those negotiations. Overall, there’s still a lot of uncertainty about what’s going to happen.”
For the beef industry, NAFTA has played an important role as both Canada and Mexico are among the top five US beef export markets. If the US were to ultimately pull out of the agreement, which Bacus asserts is still a possibility, then tariffs in these two countries for US beef would be reinstated to their former levels of 25 percent. Preferential access to these markets could also be lost. But speaking for just about everyone concerned, Bacus states that he does not believe anyone wants to see that happen. He is optimistic that based on things he has heard from negotiation insiders, that a conclusion could potentially happen by Labor Day of this year. If that occurs, he says there are several ways it might turn out. For one, it might be a comprehensive modernization of all things under the agreement; it might also be the case that negotiations totally dissolve and to everyone’s fears the US withdrawals; or lastly, we may see what Bacus calls a “skinny” version of NAFTA.
“That would include probably something where you’d see a new deal on automobiles or other things, but quite frankly it’s up in the air as to what’s going to happen… nobody really knows,” he said. “The crystal ball is not clear and so that’s got a lot of people pretty nervous about what could happen.”
Listen to Bacus speak to Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays about these ongoing negotiations and what he has heard regarding the progress being made, 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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