President Donald Trump's plan to either overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement or withdraw the United States from the deal could be “catastrophic” and “devastating” for Hoosier farmers, state agriculture leaders said Thursday.
“We don't want to screw it up,” Joe Steinkamp, a member of the Indiana Soybean Alliance from the Evansville area, said in a conference call with reporters.
NAFTA renegotiations began in August among U.S., Canadian and Mexican trade officials, with the next round of talks scheduled to begin Feb. 25. Since taking effect in 1994, NAFTA has removed tariffs on goods traded among the three nations, but Trump has blamed a loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs on the pact.
Of Indiana's nearly $1.5 billion in yearly agriculture exports, 42 percent goes to Canada and Mexico, according to Bruce Kettler, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.
NAFTA “has been a tremendous trade agreement for agriculture,” Joe Moore, executive vice president of the Indiana Beef Cattle Association, said Thursday.
“We ask that if it requires renegotiation, just leave us out of it. I'm pretty happy with the way it is,” Moore told reporters.