WASHINGTON D.C. (News4Utah)- Farmers and manufacturers have plenty to worry about these days.
It’s not just tariffs — but also the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The US Trade Rep testified before a Senate Committee this week and faced some tough questions on trade.
Many lawmakers are worried about what will happen to farmers, if the president’s trade disputes continue, and if there’s no deal on NAFTA.
Iowa Congressman David Young says his farmers are suffering the consequences of tariffs — and uncertainty about NAFTA isn’t helping.
“There is only so much that farmers and agriculture can take,” Rep. David Young, R-IA said.
This week, the US trade representative, Bob Lighthizer, told senators he hopes to strike a deal with Canada and Mexico soon.
“You’re probably looking at having to have some type of conclusion during the course of August. My sense is that’s not an unreasonable timeframe if everyone wants to get it done,” Lightizer said.
Lighthizer met with Mexican trade officials this week. He says he hopes he’ll lock in a deal with Mexico shortly and that will encourage Canada to get on board.
“I don’t believe they’ve compromised in the same way the US has or the same way Mexico has,” said Lighthizer.
But some worry President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs are making things more complicated.
Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says her farmers in Illinois need certainty.
“They want to make sure our best trading partners Canada and Mexico and china remain as viable markets to sell our corn, soybeans, pork.”
Young says signing a deal with Canada and Mexico, will help the US address its biggest trade problem.
“Let’s use those relationships in an allied way a strengthened way, to isolate China. “
Lighthizer says he’s hopeful, but he’s not making any promises.
“I don’t know whether we’re going to get an agreement, that depends on everyone being reasonable,” said Lighthizer.
Negotiators had hoped to come to an agreement in May before the Mexican elections — but are now hoping to finish talks before the new president of Mexico takes office.
The midterm elections here in the US are another concern.
It wasn’t too long ago, that President Trump said he wanted to wait until after the elections in November to finalize NAFTA.
But we’ll be watching closely to see how the negotiations develop.