In this file:

 

·         Secretary Perdue Statement on Administration’s Intent to Renegotiate NAFTA

·         Trump administration starts countdown to NAFTA talks in mid-August

·         New U.S. Ag Secretary Lays Out Challenges, Opportunities For Farmers

·         Sonny Perdue Testifies Before House Ag Committee That Having a Vaccine Bank is a Wise Decision

 

 

Secretary Perdue Statement on Administration’s Intent to Renegotiate NAFTA

 

Source: USDA

May 18, 2017 

 

(Washington, D.C., May 18, 2017) – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue issued the following statement today after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer notified Congress that President Trump intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):

 

"While NAFTA has been an overall positive for American agriculture, any trade deal can always be improved. As President Trump moves forward with renegotiating with Canada and Mexico, I am confident this will result in a better deal for our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers.  When the rules are fair and the playing field is level, U.S. agriculture will succeed and lead the world. It's why we recently announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade at USDA, because as world markets expand, we will be an unapologetic advocate for American agriculture. As I have often said, if our people continue to grow it, USDA will be there to sell it," said Secretary Perdue.

 

Background:

 

Last week, Secretary Perdue announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the USDA, a recognition of the ever-increasing importance of international trade to American agriculture. The new undersecretary will work hand in hand with Commerce and the USTR and help open up even more markets to American products.

 

Agricultural trade is critical for the U.S. farm sector and the American economy as a whole.  U.S. agricultural and food exports account for 20 percent of the value of production, and every dollar of these exports creates another $1.27 in business activity.  Additionally, every $1 billion in U.S. agricultural exports supports approximately 8,000 American jobs across the entire American economy.  As the global marketplace becomes even more competitive every day, the United States must position itself in the best way possible to retain its standing as a world leader.

 

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Trump administration starts countdown to NAFTA talks in mid-August

 

By David Lawder | Reuters

Thu May 18, 2017 | 5:57pm EDT

 

WASHINGTON | The Trump administration on Thursday set the clock ticking toward a mid-August start of renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico to try to win better terms for U.S. workers and manufacturers.

 

With a letter to U.S. lawmakers, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he triggered a 90-day consultation period with Congress, industries and the American public that would allow talks over one of the world's biggest trading blocs to begin by Aug. 16.

 

Renegotiation of NAFTA was a key campaign promise of U.S. President Donald Trump, who frequently called the 23-year-old trade pact a "disaster" that has drained U.S. factories and well-paid manufacturing jobs to Mexico.

 

Trump has pledged to use the NAFTA talks to shrink goods trade deficits that stood at $63 billion with Mexico and $11 billion with Canada last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

 

Lighthizer told reporters NAFTA has been successful for U.S. agriculture, investment services and the energy sector, but not for manufacturing. He added that he hopes to complete negotiations by the end of 2017.

 

"As a starting point for negotiations, we should build on what has worked in NAFTA and change and improve what has not," Lighthizer said in a conference call with reporters. "If renegotiations result in a fairer deal for American workers there is value in making the transition to a modernized NAFTA as seamless as possible."

 

In his letter to congressional leaders, Lighthizer said NAFTA needs modernization for provisions on digital trade, intellectual property rights, labor and environmental standards, regulatory practices, rules for state-owned enterprises and food safety standards.

 

The Obama administration attempted to address many of these deficiencies in the 2015 Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which included Canada and Mexico, but Trump pulled out of TPP in one of his first official acts as president.

 

Canada and Mexico both welcomed the U.S. move to launch a NAFTA revamp...

 

more

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade-nafta-idUSKCN18E28O

 

 

New U.S. Ag Secretary Lays Out Challenges, Opportunities For Farmers

 

By Edward O'Brien, Montana Public Radio

May 18, 2017

 

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Congress this week that American farmers are facing plenty of challenges and deep uncertainty.

 

“Our farm economy is down by about a 50-percent drop in net income from where it was in 2013 as you all were contemplating the ’14 Farm Bill" Perdue says. "We’ve got several members who – particularly younger farmers – have levered up in this situation where their revenue is not supporting their debt structure and they’re in some dire straits.”

 

Perdue spent over two hours with the House Agriculture Committee yesterday. It was his first appearance in Congress since being confirmed late last month.

 

He says agriculture’s challenges are based on weaker-than-anticipated commodity prices combined with uncertainty over the future of American trade deals. Several lawmakers seemed particularly interested in Perdue’s  take on trade. Within days of taking office Perdue’s boss, President Donald Trump, scuttled America’s participation in the Trans Pacific Partnership.

 

Perdue yesterday deviated slightly from that course, suggesting – without offering specifics – that elements of TPP could possibly be used to help renegotiate NAFTA.

 

“Absolutely. Many of the principles you all had in that negotiation I think are still viable," says Perdue. "It’s just a matter of fine-tuning those in a way that makes sense. This administration is not against free trade at all. It’s really more concerned with fair trade.”

 

Perdue says he’s is optimistic about opening new and lucrative markets for American cattle producers...

 

more, including audio

http://mtpr.org/post/new-us-ag-secretary-lays-out-challenges-opportunities-farmers

 

 

Sonny Perdue Testifies Before House Ag Committee That Having a Vaccine Bank is a Wise Decision

 

Oklahoma Farm Report

18 May 2017

 

The House Committee on Agriculture, yesterday, called a hearing to discuss several topics relevant to the industry right now. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was there to offer his perspective on several of the issues brought up, including a few of interest to the livestock industry. One topic in particular, the need for a vaccine bank, to thwart the potential threat of an outbreak, such as Foot and Mouth Disease.

 

“I guess the saying we have in Georgia - when the mule’s out the gate, it’s too late to close the gate,” Perdue quipped. “You don’t get the opportunity after an outbreak has occurred. So, I think you all are wise in considering a vaccine bank, whether it’s Foot and Mouth disease, or whether it’s hi-path Avian Influenza.”

 

Perdue mentioned that as a veterinarian by trade, he understands the benefits of vaccination and compared a vaccine bank to having insurance with a “priceless” policy...

 

more, including audio

http://www.oklahomafarmreport.com/wire/news/2017/05/02597_BeefBuzzPerdueVaccineBank05182017_113532.php