Perdue on Trade Importance and USDA Sees Ag Trade Drop
**Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says trade is critically important to U.S. farmers and ranchers, who cannot afford to have trade with key partners disrupted.
On the same day the U.S. ended steel and aluminum tariff exemptions for Mexico and Canada, Perdue told the World Meat Congress the U.S., Canada and Mexico have too much in common to allow a trade dispute.
According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, Perdue is hopeful a NAFTA agreement can be reached this year, but concedes there are hurdles, including July elections in Mexico and fall U.S. midterm elections.
**The Trump administration's insistence that Canada agree to add a five-year sunset clause to the North American Free Trade Agreement was the deal breaker for a high-level meeting in Washington that could have resulted in a final deal.
According to Agri-Pulse, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he called President Trump with an offer to come to Washington last week, but was told in a return call from Vice President Mike Pence that the meeting could not happen unless he'd agree to the sunset clause.
**U.S. agricultural trade for fiscal year 2018, is expected to drop $500 million from the USDA's November forecast and $1.0 billion below last year.
According to agriculture.com, in its Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade report last Thursday, USDA pegged demand for ag products such as oilseeds and product exports to decline 6%.