In response to the president’s announcement, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement:
“National Farmers Union continues to support a renegotiated NAFTA that prioritizes fair trade principles and protects U.S. sovereignty. For the past 25 years, unfettered free trade policies have contributed to our massive trade deficit, enabled currency manipulation, drained jobs and wages from rural communities, and facilitated corporate consolidation on an international scale. A new agreement must rectify the substantial damage wrought by these policies by strengthening our rural economies and by putting the needs of family farmers and ranchers above those of corporations.
We remain hopeful that the highly flawed investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) arbitration procedure will be either eliminated or profoundly reformed. This policy encourages the offshoring of domestic jobs, undermines the jurisdiction of the U.S. and its trading partners, and is partly responsible for the consolidation of money and power into the hands of multinational companies.
However, improvements on behalf of American farmers and ranchers should not occur at the expense of farmers across the border. U.S. negotiators should not insist on removing Canada’s dairy supply management system, which has maintained a stable dairy market for the country’s dairy farmers and consumers. Indeed, the United States should take a page from Canada’s book and establish similar policies to support American dairy farmers, who have been enduring chronic oversupply and critically low prices for a number of years.
Renegotiation is also an opportunity to reinstate Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL). By providing fair and accurate information, COOL empowers American consumers to make informed purchasing decisions and allows independent producers of high-quality, American-grown beef to differentiate their products. The administration should ensure that this mutually beneficial policy is included in the finalized agreement.”