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Rick Worthington NAFTA Value
by Rick Worthington, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: August 14, 2017

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Don't underestimate the value of NAFTA - that's the message some farm leaders are sending as lawmakers prepare to renegotiate the trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

The North American Free Trade Agreement is more than 20 years old, and the Farm Bureau's Steve Nelson said it's been very beneficial for agriculture in many western states. He says NAFTA represents about $38.1 billion in trade from 1993 to 2016, and used some Nebraska numbers to make his point.

"For Nebraska it's $2.4 billion worth of trade, and more than half of that total is with Mexico,” Nelson said. "Mexico is Nebraska's second-largest trading partner, at $1.3 billion, and it represents about 1,200 jobs in Nebraska."

But Nelson noted the deal could be more efficient with improvements that reduce regulatory costs, expedite cross-border transit and hasten the resolution of disputes between NAFTA partner countries. The first round of NAFTA talks with Canada and Mexico are scheduled to start on August 16th.

Nelson said folks who sell products directly into Canada and Mexico are experiencing some apprehension with their buyers.

"While they very much prefer the U.S. products that they're buying, they're concerned that if something would happen in this renegotiation that would make it more difficult for them to acquire those products, they need to have other markets, and so they're looking around,” he explained. "All of these things create uncertainty."

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