Cattlemen Lobby for "Narrow, Quick" Negotiations

America’s cattlemen are among those hoping the North American Free Trade Agreement remains firmly in place, and that any modifications to the agreement are minor.

Regarding any renegotiation of NAFTA, cattlemen want “these talks to be as narrow in scope as possible and move as quickly as possible,” says Kent Bacus, director of international trade and market access for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). “We don’t think there is room to improve in the beef and cattle sectors.”

There’s no room for improvement, he contends, because America already has duty-free unrestricted access to Canada and Mexico, which together represent a $1 billion export market for American beef.

“The last thing we want to do is jeopardize that by dragging out trade negotiations,” he says. “We want to move on to bigger and better things, like trying to negotiate a (trade) deal with the Japanese. That’s our biggest target market.”

Current NCBA president Craig Uden, Elwod, Neb., says, “NAFTA has positioned the U.S. beef industry to capitalize on beef sales across North America and around the world.”

While cattlemen support leaving NAFTA in place, Bacus said some areas could be updated, such as online beef sales and other industries that didn’t exist when NAFTA was created.

Listen to Kent Bacus discuss NAFTA priorities with AgriTalk's Mike Adams in the player above.