NAFTA renegotiation, local rice farmers concerned

ACADIA PARISH, La. (KLFY) – Thursday congress was officially notified the Trump administration plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, and local rice farmers are concerned.

“When we heard about this, all the commodities, rice in particular we were really really concerned. Because anytime you mess with your biggest customer you don’t want to alienate any relationships you’ve formed,” Jackie Loewer said.

The NAFTA trade agreement is between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

A deal rice farmer Jackie Loewer said has been working well for local farmers.

“NAFTA is very important because of the two countries in NAFTA, Canada and Mexico. Mexico is our largest export market so that’s significant. And when you start messing with that, and it’s been working over the years so we want to make sure we maintain what we have.”

Congress now has 90 days to give input on the trade deal.

Loewer said during that 90 day period anything could happen.

“That doesn’t mean that during the negotiations he can’t just still pull out of the deal, but that doesn’t seem like whats going to be coming down and so we’re somewhat confident.”

Loewer said any change to NAFTA could significantly affect Louisiana’s rice industry.

But he said he’s confident Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is working to keep farmers off the chopping block.

“We have three people that’s in the administration that’s on our side and we feel pretty confident that we can maintain but we will be monitoring it because it is significant.”

 

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