Hoeven Calls on Commerce Secretary to Evaluate How Any Changes to NAFTA Will Impact Ag Sector

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today joined a bipartisan group of senators in urging Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the administration to conduct a robust economic analysis to evaluate how any changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would affect the nation’s crop and livestock sectors. The full text of the letter, which is led by Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.), can be found here.

“Our farmers and ranchers produce the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world, and exports are a vital part in their success,” Hoeven said. “That’s why we have continuously stressed to the administration that any renegotiation of NAFTA must result in better terms for agriculture producers. To ensure this, we are asking Secretary Ross to provide a thorough analysis of any proposed changes for this trade agreement.”

Today’s letter comes as part of Hoeven’s continued work to ensure access to foreign markets for the state’s ag producers and push back against unfair trade practices. To this end, Hoeven met with Ted McKinney, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, during his recent confirmation process and stressed the importance of trade in creating strong prices for producers and how agriculture provides a positive balance of trade for the nation. Hoeven served as a member of the Senate-House Conference Committee that crafted the final farm bill of 2014, which directed USDA to create the undersecretary of trade position.

Hoeven also announced the lifting of trade restrictions on U.S. pork in Argentina and beef in China earlier this year. This follows Hoeven and a bipartisan group of senators pressing the administration to reach an agreement with China on imports of U.S. beef. In addition, the senator urged Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Commerce Secretary Ross to reach a sugar agreement with Mexico that is fair to American farmers and ensure its strict enforcement.