November 23, 2017

NAFTA Negotiators Focusing on Cars and Finances

agricultureAgriculture will not be a big focus in the current round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement. Bloomberg says negotiators will focus this round on regional content rules for products like cars, as well as financial services. One of the most contentious proposals from the U.S. deals with rules-of-origin for cars. Those rules determine how much of a vehicle must be produced in North America to trade without tariffs. The Trump Administration wants the requirement raised from 62.5 percent to 85 percent. The White House wants 50 percent of a vehicle’s content to come from the U.S. Other proposals that Canada and Mexico are balking at include a five-year sunset clause, getting rid of settlement dispute panels, and ending Canada’s dairy supply management program. Bloomberg says there are other topics negotiators will discuss, including telecommunications, digital trade, government procurement, investment, labor, and intellectual property.

North Dakota Among Biggest Losers in NAFTA Pull-Out

NAFTA North Dakota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, and Missouri could all suffer the most severe hits to their economies if President Trump decides to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Politico says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce listed 12 states that it says will be hit hardest by NAFTA withdrawal. John Murphy, senior vice president of international policy at the Chamber, says it’s ironic that the states hit hardest by withdrawal are those that helped to elect Trump last year. “Those most likely to suffer most would be Midwestern industrial states, heartland farm states, as well as border states like Texas and Arizona, which is ironic because nearly all of them voted to elect President Trump,” he says. The Chamber analysts looked at data from the American Enterprise Institute and Center for Automotive Research. As an example, the Chamber says withdrawal from NAFTA would impact approximately 366,000 Michigan jobs and the $35 billion worth of exports the state sends to both Canada and Mexico.

Senator Moran Urging Farmers to Stand Up for NAFTA

Sen. Jerry MoranRepublican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas penned an open letter to farmers and ranchers this week asking them to “do more” regarding concerns surrounding the North American Free Trade Agreement. The letter urges farmers, farm groups, and others, to “raise their concerns” with President Trump. He challenged the industry to do so via op-eds, letters, social media campaigns, and other venues about the importance of trade. Moran says the voice of lawmakers raising alarm only goes so far, adding that “the real power to change the conversation lies with the American people. The senator wrote that he is convinced the U.S. is headed down a path toward withdrawal from NAFTA unless action is taken by agricultural groups to change the administration’s course. Also, Moran stated he was impressed with the knowledge and conviction exhibited in defense of agricultural trade so far.