The Produce Marketing Association has responded to the White House announcement that the United States and Mexico have reached an agreement to replace NAFTA. Below is the association’s statement:
On August 27, 2018, the White House announced that the United States and Mexico had reached a bilateral agreement to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In announcing the agreement, named the 'U.S.-Mexico Trade Agreement', U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said, "The agreement specifically addresses agricultural biotechnology to keep up with the 21st Century innovations. And, we mutually pledge to work together with Mexico to reduce trade-distorting policies, increase transparency, and ensure non-discriminatory treatment in grading of agricultural products." Under the agreement, the bilateral will last for 16 years with a review after six years. If the countries agree that the pact is meeting set objectives, the agreement will extend for another 10 years. The Office of the United States Trade Representative put out a fact sheet explaining the details of the new agreement to agriculture.
The produce seasonality provision put forth by the United States is not part of the bilateral agreement reached with Mexico.
At this time, Canada is not part of the agreement reached with Mexico. Canada and the United States continued negotiations last week to try and bridge to a trilateral agreement.
PMA continues to support proposals that advance free and fair trade. PMA is concerned that two bilateral agreements could be at odds and has the potential to unravel the strong North American supply network that has been built under NAFTA. We encourage leaders of all three countries to work together to come to a single agreement that will benefit the produce and floral industries throughout North America.
On August 31, the U.S. Trade Representative notified Congress that a new agreement had been negotiated with Mexico. Congress will have 90 days to review before taking a vote on the agreement. Congress can only vote up or down. They cannot alter the agreement submitted by the President. Within that 90-day window, the full text of the agreement must be submitted to Congress at least 60 days before the vote.
It is thought that if an agreement is reached with Canada, the notice submitted by the Administration relevant to the agreement with Mexico can be modified to include Canada, thus not starting another 90-day clock for Congressional approval. However, such measures have never been employed previously.
PMA will share the latest news as the negotiations continue on NAFTA 2.0. In the meantime, feel free to reach out with any questions or additional insights on how you may be directly affected by the negotiations.Member services can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 (302) 738-7100