Brownfield Network | Wednesday, January 23, 2008
USDA says "managed" trade agreements would hurt NAFTA
by Julie Harker
Sugar producers in the US and Mexico are suggesting new trade limits and rules for sugar be considered. But, USDA Under Secretary Mark Keenum, one of the dignitaries recently in Mexico to celebrate the full implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, says no single commodity should be allowed to set new trade rules, "Basically you wind up having a situation where in some of the larger sectors of our ag trade, which has been so tremendous over the last several years, you’re gonna not have a NAFTA. You’re not going to have a free trade agreement in place any longer. And that’s the risk you run when you start allowing individual commodities to try and negotiate. You are, in essence, renegotiating the NAFTA agreement.”
Zero tariffs on sugar were recently reached as part of the long-implemented NAFTA. Keenum says his counterparts in the US and Mexican governments agree that the successes of NAFTA will outweigh the need for these types of “managed trade agreements” as proposed by the sugar industry.