September 27, 2018

Legislators Call for Slow Down on NAFTA Negotiations

 |  By: Mike Opperman

Three U.S. Representatives called on U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to slow the pace North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations in order to come to a fair agreement on Canadian dairy exports.

Representatives Ron Kind (R-WI), Suzan DelBene (WA) and Brian Higgins (NY) represent states that need open-market access to Canada to support dairy exports. To date, little to no progress has been made with Canada to create greater access to the Canadian market or to dismantle their Class 7 pricing system. Farmers in Wisconsin and New York were the most heavily impacted by the implementation of Class 7 in the spring of 2017.

“With historically low dairy prices across the United States, our farmers are depending on increased access to the Canadian market in order to sell their world-class dairy products,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “We urge Ambassador Lighthizer to stop rushing the NAFTA renegotiation process, and focus on getting the best deal possible with both Canada and Mexico. The arbitrary deadlines the Administration claims to face are deadlines of their own; we should not be rushed to complete NAFA renegotiations at the expense of a good outcome.”

The Trump administration will publish the text for its bilateral trade deal with Mexico on Friday, which will likely exclude Canada but leave open the possibility for the country to join the agreement later.

Lighthizer is pushing to come to a NAFTA deal by this Sunday, with or without Canada, in order to give U.S. lawmakers the required 60 days to review the text of a renegotiated NAFTA and ensure it is signed before Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto leaves office.

Read the complete letter here