Update on NAFTA Discussions

The U.S., Canada and Mexico have already missed the deadline for an agreement on the North American Free Trade Agreement set by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, but timelines are not as important as the quality of the deal, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said Monday.

“Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion in the press about potential deadlines for concluding negotiations on NAFTA,” Hatch said Monday on the Senate floor. “While speculation about timelines is natural, let me be clear, as I have said from the beginning of these talks, the most important thing for determining when and how Congress will vote on an eventual NAFTA outcome is the quality of the agreement.”

National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern agrees. While some farm groups would be satisfied with the North American countries retreating to the status quo of the original trade pact, the dairy sector wants a NAFTA 2.0 that does away with Canada’s supply management system and its “class 7” policy.

Canada is able to both block U.S. dairy exports to protect its domestic market as well as subsidize its own exports through the class 7 mechanism.

“We think the negotiations should take as long as they need to take to get the agreement right,” Mulhern said Monday. “And part of any agreement … is addressing the problem of Canada’s egregious dairy policies with respect to market access and class 7 policy … I think patience is the word of the day, with regard to that.”

 Source: Agri-pulse

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