Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson says a good start would be to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA.
“If we’re able to resolve the trade issues with our closest neighbors, with Mexico and Canada, whether that’s with a new NAFTA agreement or bilateral agreements with those two countries or however that is, that would be something I think that would be very, very positive,” Nelson tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Nelson doesn’t see any reason why NAFTA cannot be modernized, or new separate agreements be reached with both Canada and Mexico.
China might present a tougher trading partner with which to negotiate, according to Nelson. Nelson says it might take more time and more difficult discussions to resolve issues between the United States and China.
Nelson also holds out hope something can be salvaged from the United States pulling out of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement reached among southeastern Asia countries. He notes several of the TPP members have expressed an interest in opening trade negotiations with the U.S., including Japan.
Gov. Pete Ricketts says trade is vital to Nebraska, especially Nebraska agriculture. Ricketts says Nebraska farmers and ranchers need access to markets in Mexico and Canada, two of the state’s biggest trading partners. Whether that comes from a modernization of NAFTA or from separate agreements doesn’t matter to Ricketts.
“So, I think there are opportunities to be able to improve NAFTA and create greater market access,” Ricketts tells reporters. “As I’ve said all along, what we don’t want to do though is disrupt that relationship.”
Ricketts says the trade war hasn’t had a big impact on Nebraska, yet, but could make a difference if trade issues are not resolved.
Ricketts says he has informed the administration of the importance of trade to Nebraska.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]