Soybean Growers Strongly Discourage NAFTA Withdrawal Order

Following reports Wednesday that an executive order is being prepared that would withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), ASA President Ron Moore, a soybean farmer from Roseville, Ill., warned in a statement that such a move could have disastrous consequences for the nation’s leading agricultural export in light of the still-struggling U.S. agricultural economy.

“Without mincing words, initiating a process to withdraw from NAFTA is a terrible idea, and it will only mean a longer and more difficult struggle for farmers to recover in this economy. With surplus production and domestic prices lagging, we need more opportunities and easier avenues to sell our products abroad, and signaling the U.S. intent to withdraw from NAFTA runs absolutely counter to that goal. Soybean farmers sent more than $2.5 billion in soybeans, meal and oil to Mexico last year, making it our number two market overall and the leading purchaser of U.S. meal and oil. Canada is number three in meal sales and number 10 in oil. Add to that the sales of the meat, dairy and eggs that require soy meal as animal feed, our North American partners are unquestionably among the most vital and vibrant markets for American soybeans.

“If any actions to announce the intent to withdraw from NAFTA are underway, the administration should immediately abandon such plans and focus instead on ways to work with Canada and Mexico to modernize and optimize the agreement during a renegotiation. ASA has been supportive of the administration’s efforts to improve NAFTA. That’s where the action should be; beginning withdrawal procedures before modernization negotiations even take place are counterproductive and send the wrong signal. Further, a U.S. Trade Representative is still waiting to be confirmed, and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue just was sworn in yesterday. We need to give both time to have input on NAFTA modernization.”