NAFTA dis­pute brings pain to both sides

Tillsonburg News - - OPINION - — Post­media Net­work

amer­i­can farm­ers are in­creas­ingly im­pacted by tar­iffs caused by on­go­ing trade dis­putes with Canada, mex­ico, China and the euro­pean union, ac­cord­ing to the u.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce.

So much so the u.S. depart­ment of agri­cul­ture is now hand­ing out $4.7 bil­lion in farm aid to off­set losses from re­tal­ia­tory tar­iffs. and it’s not just farm­ers get­ting hurt. in amer­ica’s heart­land, re­tal­ia­tory tar­iffs threaten some $1 bil­lion in ex­ports from iowa, $660 mil­lion of that with Canada alone.

and while hog and soy­bean farm­ers are im­pacted, so are steel, pes­ti­cide and other man­u­fac­tur­ers. the story’s the same across the u.S. that’s why Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent and Ceo thomas J. dono­hue on Fri­day urged ne­go­tia­tors to reach a deal that in­cludes all three naFta sig­na­to­ries.

“naFta’s many strengths rest on the fact that it ties to­gether three eco­nom­i­cally vi­brant na­tions, draw­ing upon each of our strengths to boost the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the whole,” dono­hue said in the re­lease. “if you break off one mem­ber of this agree­ment, you break it all, and that would be bad news for u.S. busi­nesses, for amer­i­can jobs, and for eco­nomic growth.”

Clearly, trade dis­putes hurt ev­ery­one — farm­ers, em­ploy­ers, work­ers and con­sumers. and just as clearly, Canada, mex­ico and the u.S. economies are deeply in­te­grated.

eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal pres­sure will even­tu­ally re­solve our cur­rent dis­agree­ment.

mean­while, the re­main­ing hur­dles for Canada (mex­ico and the u.S. have a ten­ta­tive pact) ap­pear to be over ac­cess to our dairy mar­ket, pre­serv­ing NAFTA’s cul­tural ex­emp­tions and main­tain­ing a dis­pute res­o­lu­tion mech­a­nism.

don­ald trump’s rhetoric may be in­flam­ma­tory, but his job is to get a bet­ter deal for amer­i­cans. he also risks a po­lit­i­cal bat­tle with Congress over NAFTA and grow­ing back­lash from or­di­nary amer­i­cans, de­spite his boom­ing econ­omy, as the trade dis­pute in­creas­ingly dis­rupts jobs and prices.

our prime min­is­ter, Justin trudeau, on the other hand has mis­man­aged ne­go­ti­a­tions from the start, in­clud­ing by shoe­horn­ing his pro­gres­sive agenda into talks.

the amer­i­cans should have more ac­cess to our dairy mar­ket. Sup­ply man­age­ment is a costly, pro­tec­tion­ist hang­over that bilks con­sumers in this coun­try. ex­tend­ing cul­tural pro­tec­tion costs the u.S. lit­tle but we do need a way to re­solve dis­putes.

both trudeau and trump need a NAFTA win and, for all our sakes, we hope both get one.

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