Why Trump's combative trade stance makes US farmers nervous

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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday with the NAFTA announcement "we intend to notify not just Congress, but all our trading partners, that free and fair trade is the new standard for U.S. trade deals".

Making good on a campaign promise, the Trump administration informed Congress that it intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

"Congress and the Administration must work hand-in-hand if we are to achieve the high-standard trade agreements our country needs to grow", Sen.

During the required 90-day period, USTR will consult with "Congress and American stakeholders to create an agreement that advances the interests of America's workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses", he said.

He had previously said the deal does more harm than good to the country's economy, believing that other states were taking advantage of the USA in trade circles. "While our economy and businesses have changed considerably, Nafta has not. Most chapters are clearly outdated and do not reflect the most recent standards in USA trade agreements". Since his inauguration, President Trump has remained a critic of NAFTA, calling it the "worst trade deal ever" and a cause of significant United States manufacturing job losses.

Hayes said it's a better idea to renegotiate than to impose some sort of unilateral tariff, an approach that would leave USA firms vulnerable to retaliation. But he singled out manufacturing as an area of deficiency, particularly involving Mexico. "We want to make sure that we don't lose that".

Lighthizer told reporters that "NAFTA has been successful for US agriculture, investment services and the energy sector, but not for manufacturing", as Reuters reported. "And in some regions of Brazil, yellow corn is even cheaper than in the U.S." for Mexico.

"I think the sugar situation is like a preamble, a starting point for entering the Nafta negotiations", said Carlos Blackaller, head of Mexico's sugar cane growers' union which represents some 180,000 cane producers in 15 Mexican states.

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Lighthizer said the administration will consider other options if trilateral talks fail.

Trump made NAFTA a key issue during the election, calling it the "worst deal in United States history, " and promising to "tear it up" if he could not renegotiate the agreement.

"There is no question that Nafta has been tremendously successful", said Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees trade.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement that the trade agreement had resulted in economic growth and the creation of millions of jobs.

Trump's efforts to find the political capital to support a new trade pact will be complicated by controversies engulfing the White House. Former FBI director Robert Mueller this week was named special counsel overseeing a probe into Russia's role in the 2016 election.

"We estimate, for example, that the direct annual economic impact of cross-border commerce in all of its forms on just Clinton County is close to $2 billion, with 15 percent of the regional workforce employed by a Canadian or border-related employer on this side of the border", he said. "We don't know enough".

Congressman Tim Ryan, D-13 District, in a statement issued Thursday said he is apprehensive about the transparency of those negotiations, citing what he called an Administration of evasion and secrecy.

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