Pork Benefits From NAFTA

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has beneficial aspects to agriculture and Canadian pork producers are concerned about President Trump's promise to renegotiate it.

At the Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines, General Manager of the Manitoba Pork Council Andrew Dickson says messing with NAFTA may hurt a significant trade, "I think we need to be very careful about, what are we opening up for discussion? Are we dealing with the right issues? And then how do we achieve some compromise here that is mutual benefit to both parties."

NAFTA was originally put in place to resolve trade issues between North American countries. Pork especially had issues with imports and exports before the agreement.

Dickson says since NAFTA has been in place the U.S. now supplies about 20-25 percent of Canada's domestic pork and imports about 3-4 percent of its pork from Canada. The dollar amount of imports and exports more or less equals out.

Mexico and Canada are the number two and four markets for pork exports and the U.S. has grown 50 million more hogs since NAFTA has been in place.

Dickson says, "There's cuts that are made in the United States that we are short of in Canada, there are cuts of pork that you need in the United States and we have a surplus in Canada so we trade these cuts to and fro. And it's a mutual benefit to both. Our farmers have grown with NAFTA in terms of the size of the business, the same way the American industry's grown."

Dickson says Mexico is an importent export market for both the U.S. and Canada as they are a net importer of pork.

He says there's an art to negotiation diplomacy, everyone has to come out feeling they've gained something. Dickson adds the pork council is going into talks with good will and hopes they leave likewise.