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NAWG: NAFTA Can be Improved to Benefit Growers
USAgNet - 08/22/2017

As formal renegotiation discussions for the North American Free Trade Agreement begin in Washington, the National Association of Wheat Growers continues to stress "Do No Harm." In the next couple of weeks, negotiators from Canada, Mexico and the United States will commence the second round of NAFTA renegotiations in Mexico City, before heading to Canada for round three.

"The wheat industry can benefit from some enhancements to NAFTA. A good place to begin are the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) rules that the three countries already agreed to as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations," stated Chandler Goule, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers. "With the global push to reduce tariffs, non-tariff barriers (particularly SPS barriers) to trade are becoming increasingly common. It is critical that the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures in any agreement are transparent and based on scientific principles."

Goule says Canadian wheat can freely enter U.S. elevators and receive a grade commensurate to its quality while U.S. wheat brought to Canadian elevators is automatically downgraded to a 'feed wheat' grade or the equivalent.

"This glaring difference is highly concerning and disenfranchises farmers near the border who can't take advantage of price premiums at Canadian elevators when they occur," he said.

NAWG leaders say the new NAFTA can provide opportunities for both U.S. wheat buyers and wheat producers if negotiated correctly.

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