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Nebraska reacts to new NAFTA announcement

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President Trump’s administration announced that they have reached a deal for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In a joint statement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the agreement "will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half billion people who call North America home."

The new deal, reached just before a midnight deadline imposed by the U.S., will be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. It replaces the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, which President Donald Trump had called a job-killing disaster.

Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news from the White House on a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico named the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement:

“President Trump has delivered on his promise to finalize a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico,” said Governor Ricketts. “The importance of this new deal to Nebraska cannot be understated. These two countries are top customers for Nebraska, and are critical markets for growing trade opportunities. This new deal makes progress in the three areas Nebraska’s leaders outlined for trade negotiations with these countries over a year ago. Most importantly, it helps give Nebraska’s farmers and businesses much-needed certainty, and will help us grow these important trade relationships for years to come.”

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer tweeted the following statement after the announcement of the new trade deal:

“Mexico and Canada are Nebraska’s two largest trading partners. I’m grateful to President Trump for following through on his commitment to negotiate a better trade deal between our three countries. I’m optimistic this agreement will bring good opportunities to Nebraska producers and our state.”

Congressman Adrian Smith released the below statement following the Trump administration’s announcement of a trade agreement between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

“I’m very pleased to hear the administration has come to an agreement with Mexico and Canada to update NAFTA with a new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) which builds on its successes. I have long supported a three-country agreement because it is vital to Nebraska’s agricultural producers and to our rural economy. I look forward to considering USMCA as Congress studies the details and I commend President Trump’s team for their success in reaching this point.”

President of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Steve Nelson released the following statement:

“The announcement that the U.S., Canada, and Mexico have come to terms on a new and improved free-trade agreement is a major ‘win’ for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers and an important step forward in helping eliminate trade related uncertainty in agricultural markets.”

“Mexico and Canada are Nebraska’s two largest customers for agricultural goods. This new deal not only maintains the positive market access system for our major commodities in Nebraska, but also sweetens the pot by addressing many concerns for our dairy producers, including improved market access.”

“Exports of Nebraska agricultural goods to these two countries exceeded $2.9 billion in 2016 and accounted for 45 percent of Nebraska’s total agricultural exports that year. Mexico and Canada are major customers for Nebraska beef and Mexico has been a top customer for Nebraska corn, and the second-largest customer for Nebraska soybeans and wheat. These countries are also major importers of ethanol and distillers dried grains from Nebraska.”

“Any way you slice it, Mexico and Canada are critically important customers for Nebraska agriculture. We applaud the President for his work to get the U.S., Canada, Mexico Trade Agreement (USCMA) done. This is more positive news following the signing of an updated free trade deal with South Korea (KORUS), and news that the U.S. is in negotiations on a new bilateral deal with Japan, and in talks with the European Union. While there is still much work to be done with China, these actions have us on the right path to providing access for Nebraska agriculture commodities to global customers who are critical to Nebraska farm and ranch families. We look forward to continuing to work with this administration to grow market access for our products around the globe and with Congress to assure passage of the USCMA.”

The Nebraska Corn Board released the following statement regarding the new agreement:

“Since discussions of a NAFTA withdrawal surfaced more than a year ago, we’ve been working hard to remind the president, our congressional leaders, farmers and the general public how important Canada and Mexico are for ag trade,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “We still have a little way to go with final approvals, but this is definitely a step in the right direction and we appreciate the work our administration has done to meet the NAFTA withdrawal deadline.”

“Our message has always been to ‘do no harm to agriculture’ in trade renegotiation talks,” said Dan Wesely, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Morse Bluff. “Canada and Mexico buyers purchase more than 27 percent of Nebraska’s corn exports, nearly 32 percent of Nebraska’s ethanol exports and almost 22 percent of our state’s beef exports. By having a fair and open deal with our neighbors to the north and south, we can ensure markets for Nebraska producers, corn and value-added products for a long time.”

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American Soybean Association also released a statement following the announcement:

“Our soybean harvest this year is large, and we are facing great uncertainty in China, so a modernized NAFTA is timely and beneficial for our farmers and rural communities.”

“With USMCA, KORUS, and other agreements in sight, we are hopeful that a negotiated solution to the China tariffs could be in sight,” ASA President and soybean grower from Keota, Iowa, John Heisdorffer said.

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