Bullying, insults achieve nothing for farmers in U.S., Canada or Mexico

A NAFTA agreement without Canada involved is not a completed deal

MINNEAPOLIS—In response to the announcement that NAFTA negotiations with Canada have been suspended until Wednesday and the Trump administration has sent a notice to Congress of its intention to sign a trade agreement with Mexico, with or without Canada, IATP Senior Attorney Sharon Treat issued the following statement:

"After a week filled with insults directed at Canada, today's announcement that the United States is notifying Congress of its intention to sign a trade deal with Mexico is disheartening. America's farmers deserve better. A NAFTA deal without Canadian participation is not a completed deal.

"While the USTR has stated it will continue to talk with Canada, those discussions appear to have one primary goal: Unraveling the successful dairy supply management program that has sustained dairy farmers in Canada at a time when overproduction and flawed farm policies in the U.S. have been driving dairy farms out of business. This Canadian program is one attempt to balance supply and demand to help farmers and consumers with little reliance on exports or taxpayer subsidies. It works, in part, because dairy is sheltered from imports by high tariffs. In the U.S., farmers, similarly to steel workers, are hurt by immense, unmanaged overproduction exported to global markets, driving prices down to unsustainable levels. 

"Rather than destroy the Canadian dairy industry, we should be learning from their example and adopting policies that successfully balance supply and demand and lift up our own farmers. That's why family farm groups in the U.S. have spoken on the need to overhaul domestic dairy policy that relies on overproduction to compensate for low prices, rather than attacking Canada's program.  

"Instead, what little information that has been released on the agricultural provisions agreed to with Mexico promises new rules to lock in the spread of agricultural biotechnology, which would favor agribusiness interests over those of family farmers in each of the three countries."