Where’s the Beef? NAFTA Negotiators Have the Opportunity to Answer

(WASHINGTON) – The Administration stated this week that they are working toward a deal with Canada and Mexico on a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), to be released by the end of the month. In response to these comments, United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) president Kenny Graner issued the following statement:

“In 2017, I testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington, D.C. to discuss the unique trade challenges the U.S. livestock industry has faced over the past 20 years. In 1994, the year NAFTA was implemented, the U.S. ran a surplus of $226.7 million in beef and a deficit of $978.8 million with Canada and Mexico combined. By 2016, the surplus in beef had become a deficit of $710.4 million, and the combined deficit in cattle had grown to $1.55 billion.With all three countries at the negotiating table this week, this is a perfect opportunity to address current imbalances and trade deficits specific to our industry.

“As talks continue on a modernized NAFTA, U.S. cattle producers remain disappointed in the lack of discussion on a WTO-compliant country-of-origin labeling (COOL) program. Country-of-origin labeling remains an important issue for cattle producers across the U.S. and consensus must be reached on how to best respond to consumer demand for accurate information. USCA continues to work toward truth in labeling on all fronts, and we hope the Administration will do the same.”

–U.S. Cattlemen’s Association