Senators urge commerce secretary to evaluate any changes to NAFTA

A group of senators wants to know how proposed changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would affect the crop and livestock sectors of the economy.

The senators sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asking him to conduct an economic analysis to evaluate the impact.

“It is imperative that before any changes are made to NAFTA, or any other free trade agreement, that economic analysis that illustrates the impact on the full supply chain of the industries involved be shared,” the senators wrote. “As such, we request an economic analysis that examines and evaluates the impacts to crop and livestock sectors as a result of any change to NAFTA.”

They said U.S. agriculture depends on access to international markets. With NAFTA renegotiations underway, they made clear that any changes must be positive for agriculture, especially since many farmers and ranchers are struggling financially.

“The U.S. is the world’s top exporter of food and agricultural products and is an important economic driver that stimulates prosperity and jobs throughout rural America,” they wrote. “According to USDA, every $1 in agricultural exports generates an additional $1.27 in economic activity, and every $1 billion in farm exports supports 8,000 jobs. In fact, the data shows the benefits of agricultural trade align with many of the Administration’s goals and priorities – supports U.S. jobs, encourages U.S. investment, and fosters economic growth within the U.S.”

They concluded by saying that the U.S. agricultural industry must forward, not backward.