North American farmers unite behind NAFTA, supply management spat likened to ‘family fight’
OTTAWA — Farmers from Canada, the United States and Mexico are showing a united front and downplaying irritants as negotiators begin a rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
While stacks of paper hit negotiating tables for a first round of talks, there were warning bells from a sector that has roundly benefitted from the deal since its adoption in 1994 — with Americans noting many farmers and ranchers helped elect U.S. President Donald Trump, who initiated the rewrite.
Representatives from the three countries’ biggest agricultural industry groups emphasized their desire for a “do no harm” approach in a joint letter to Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mexican Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal Wednesday.
The presidents of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Consejo Nacional Agropecuario explain in the letter their industry “would suffer greatly from disruptions to the trading relationships that have developed over the last 23 years.”