Over the last week NAEGA staff and the NAFTA Policy Team have been working to inform three different comments related to the U.S. Trade Representative’s request for comments on a negotiation of NAFTA.
NAEGA-NGFA Comments on NAFTA Negotiating Objectives
On Monday, June 12 NAEGA and NGFA submitted joint comments to the U.S. Trade Representative regarding negotiating objectives of the North American Free Trade Agreement. On May 18, President Trump announced his intention to enter into renegotiations of NAFTA with Canada and Mexico, kicking off a 90-day consultation period with industry, Congress and the public. NAEGA and NGFA joint comments laid out five negotiating objectives, including:
- Maintaining all market access and tariff concessions.
- Creating a Rapid Response Mechanism.
- Enhancing science based SPS rules.
- Adopting risk management and risk assessment procedures that prevent the use of non-tariff barriers that lack scientific merit.
- Promoting regulatory consistency and cooperation provisions.
- Strengthening efforts to address TBT matters.
- Increasing transparency and cooperation on modern agricultural production technologies.
- Enabling the innovation of information technologies that improve logistics and regulatory implementation to facilitate trade.
- Ensuring safe, orderly and secure passage for rail and truck freight transportation with member countries.
U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade and NAFTA Comments
On Thursday, June 1 the North American Market Working Group of the U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade held it first consultative meeting with U.S. government ahead of the beginning of NAFTA negotiations. During the meeting, members of the working group met with Sharon Bomer-Lauritsen, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Agricultural Affairs and Commodity Policy and Jason Hafemiester, Acting Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services. Jason and Sharon briefed the group on the NAFTA negotiation process and the timeline for consultation with industry and Congress.
Following discussion with Sharon and Jason, the working group met in a closed door session to discuss the ongoing chapter-by-chapter analysis of NAFTA being conducted by a sub-group of the working group. The analysis helped inform the working groups comments on negotiating objectives that were submitted to USTR on June 12. A copy of the chapter-by-chapter analysis can be found here. A final copy of the working groups comments to the Administration on NAFTA negotiations can be found here.
USBCA Comments on NAFTA Negotiating Objectives
This week the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance (USBCA), which NAEGA is a participant in, submitted comments to the U.S. Trade Representative on negotiating objectives in the upcoming negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement. In the comments USBCA calls on U.S. negotiators to include in NAFTA: 1) a mutual recognition agreement concerning the safety determination of crops intended for use as food, feed and/or for further processing; and 2) development of a consistent approach for managing low-level presence (LLP) of products that have undergone a safety assessment and are approved for use in a third country, but not yet approved for import by a NAFTA-member country.