The American Soybean Association (ASA) has communicated to the White House that the significant trade benefits U.S. farmers have achieved under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) must be protected as President Donald Trump moves forward with plans to renegotiate the agreement. ASA President Ron Moore, a farmer from Roseville, Ill., noted the significant stakes for soybean farmers in a statement:
“Given the size and impact of the Mexican and Canadian markets for American soybean producers, we’re watching the Administration’s decisions very, very closely, and it’s fair to say that we’re nervous. For the last 20 years, NAFTA has been a core component in the growth of soybeans as a positive contributor to the U.S. balance of trade. Overall, U.S. ag exports to Mexico and Canada have more than quadrupled since NAFTA enactment, growing from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $38.6 billion in 2015. Mexico’s imports alone are a particularly notable success story for U.S. soy, growing more than five-fold over that same time period to $2.44 billion in 2015. Needless to say, there’s a great deal at stake.
All of this isn’t to suggest that there isn’t room for improvement in NAFTA, and we look forward to being part of that discussion. In particular, we are interested in discussing how to reduce non-tariff barriers as well as the few remaining tariffs on U.S. ag products sold to Canada and Mexico. Throughout his campaign, President Trump spoke of the need to give farmers an active role in helping to make policy decisions that impact us. This is clearly the first of those instances, and we look forward to our part in that process.