Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue talked on Wednesday about the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations, saying he’s “somewhat disappointed” with the pace of the talks.
Politico’s Morning Ag Report says Perdue tried to offer hope to U.S. farmers by saying there’s a potential for serious agricultural discussions next week when Round Four gets underway. “Honestly, we’ve been somewhat disappointed in the first three rounds, but we think this is the way these things get going,” Perdue said. Speaking at a Washington International Trade Association event, Perdue added, “If you’ve ever watched a boxing match, they circle one another for a while, and I think we’ve been circling.” He says the administration will lay some things on the table in the next round of talks.
Some of the more serious things will include the dairy trade dispute with Canada. Perdue expects both dairy and poultry to be topics of discussion in the next round of talks. He says dairy gains with Canada may be tough to achieve.
The secretary also wants to address the concerns southeast U.S. fruit and vegetable growers have over increasing competition from Mexican producers. Perdue acknowledged on Wednesday that they have been hurt by Mexican competition under NAFTA.