U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will host Canadian Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Mexican Secretary of Agriculture José Calzada Rovirosa in Savannah on Tuesday a trilateral meeting as well as other joint events.
The three will tour the Georgia Ports and hold a press conference in the morning, then travel to Vidalia to particip0ate in Georgia Department of Agriculture farm tours.
While there has been no official word on the substance of the meeting, Reuters news service — citing the Mexican government as a source — reports the agricultural officials are set to begin talks on renogotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. Commodity News Service in Winnipeg, Canada, also reported NAFTA as the subject of the meeting, citing information from the Mexican agriculture ministry.
NAFTA is a treaty entered into by the United States, Canada and Mexico that was designed to eliminate tariff barriers to agricultural, manufacturing, and services; to remove investment restrictions; and to protect intellectual property rights. When it went into effect on Jan. 1, 1994, the three countries became the largest free market in the world, with combined economies of $6 trillion directly affecting 365 million people.
Although NAFTA served to lower the price of consumer goods for Americans, increased U.S. exports and contributed to the U.S. GDP, it also led to the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs.
President Donald Trump has been highly critical of NAFTA, calling it a “bad deal for America” and vowing to pull the country out of the agreement. He has since softened his stance, announcing last month that he intends to renegotiate the agreement.