This week, trade officials from the U.S., Mexico and Canada opened their first round of meetings aimed at renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Thad Lively, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for trade access, explains that U.S. beef, pork and lamb currently enjoy full access to Mexico and Canada, at zero duty and with no significant product restrictions. It is essential that this level of access is preserved, because these countries account for 40% of U.S. pork exports, nearly 30% of U.S. beef exports and more than 80% of U.S. lamb exports (based on January-June 2017 volumes). Maintaining reciprocal duty-free access for agricultural goods is on the list of NAFTA objectives recently published by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).
While preserving full market access is the U.S. red meat industry’s leading priority in the NAFTA negotiations, Lively notes that the agreement’s sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) chapter should be updated to reflect current scientific and technical standards. USMEF would also like to see NAFTA updated to accommodate e-commerce.
For more information, visit www.usmef.org.