At the top of the Trump administration’s list of agricultural goals for the new NAFTA is elimination of Canadian tariffs on imports of U.S. dairy, poultry, and egg products — meaning a dismantling of the nation’s supply-management system.
By: Chuck Abbott
Canada balked at that demand in the previous round of negotiation, and the current round of talks in Mexico City made little progress over the weekend.
The administration released an updated summary of its NAFTA goals just before the Mexico City round began. The CBC said the updated list “includes positions both Canada and Mexico have said they wouldn’t support,” and that “this round is doing little to provide optimism on a deal getting done.” Reuters said talks “appeared to be in danger of grinding toward a stalemate amid complaints of U.S. negotiators’ inflexibility … Hanging over the negotiations is the very real threat that Trump could make good on a threat to scrap NAFTA.”
“The goals that [the U.S.] seeks to achieve through these negotiations are widely reported and well known,” said the administration in the introduction to 15 pages of point-by-point objectives. On the first page, it says “Maintain existing reciprocal duty-free market access for agricultural goods,” followed by, “Expand competitive market opportunities for U.S. agricultural goods … including by eliminating remaining Canadian tariffs on imports of U.S. dairy, poultry, and egg products.”
While U.S. farm groups support modernization of NAFTA, they want to maintain duty-free access to Canada and Mexico, which generate one third of U.S. agricultural trade. The U.S. dairy industry adamantly seeks wider access to Canada. President Trump twice referred to the dairy industry complaints last spring when threatening to scrap NAFTA.