Cattlemen’s group engaged in hearings about North American Free Trade Agreement
Washington, D.C. – Beginning on June 27, the Trump administration opened a three-day hearing process to discuss the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President-elect Kevin Kester shared his speaking experience on the “Beltway Beef”podcast.
According to Kester, the U.S. Trade Representatives Office’s NAFTA renegotiation process hearings have attracted a large number of stakeholder.
“There are sectors from all across industry and business to other interested stakeholders regarding NAFTA that are testifying before the U.S. Trade Representatives staff at their offices here in Washington, D.C.,” said Kester.
“On behalf of NCBA, I was delivering a message that we strongly support NAFTA because of the great and huge markets it has created over the last 23 years with Canada, Mexico and the United States cattle and beef industries,” commented Kester.
He noted the association was particularly concerned with emphasizing the successes of the current NAFTA agreement.
“I gave information on the successes of NAFTA today and how we don’t want unintended collateral damage, so to speak, during renegotiations and the modernization process of NAFTA,” Kester stated.
He continued, “We want to ensure that agriculture, and specifically beef and cattle, are included in some parameters because, right now, we have zero tariffs and unfettered access for our products into Canada and Mexico, which are each more than $1 billion markets for us.”
Country of origin labeling (COOL) was another topic debated during the hearings by agricultural organizations, with Kester sharing the stance of NCBA against reinstating the law.
“There were two other organizations that brought up country of origin labeling, and I was happy to explain that COOL was the U.S. law for over six years, and it did fail to deliver on its promises to build consumer confidence and add value to our producers,” said Kester.
According to Kester, the end result of COOL was a long battle with the World Trade Organization and the U.S. faced the promise of more than $1 billion in retaliatory tariffs from Mexico and Canada if COOL was not repealed.
“We want to make sure that COOL doesn’t raise its ugly head back up again on a failed government mandated program and we get in a trade war with two of our biggest trading partners,” Kester concluded.
Emilee Gibb is editor of Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.