NAFTA – agricultural trends and the future of the trade agreement

Almost 7 years ago, I drafted this capstone paper (nafta_peter_r_abraldes) at the University of Pittsburgh about agricultural subsidies and the development of NAFTA.

A lot has changed since 2010.  Ironically, in 2008 it was former President Obama’s election that caused “uncertainty” around the continued development of NAFTA.  Protectionism was in the air, but NAFTA served as a stabilizer against these protectionist forces and political cycles.  Canada was able to pressure the U.S. to scrap some the “Buy American” provisions in the Stimulus Bill after the Great Recession.

If NAFTA is renegotiated, it seems unlikely that this will include provisions for the environment and labor.  The Democrats sought to add these provisions incrementally.  They were unable to include these in the agreement even though the bill was promoted by former President Clinton.

Mexico could seek to improve NAFTA in two ways.  Mexico could require that the NAFTA market price discriminate between white and yellow corn.  In the world market, white corn is priced higher, but in NAFTA both types are priced the same.  Ironically it is Mexico that “specializes” in white corn while the U.S. produces mostly yellow corn.

Mexico could also renegotiate the Rio Grande Treaty of 1944.  The northern stretch of Mexico has most of the corporate farms.  The treaty is outdated and Mexico’s water requirements are much higher than they were in 1944.

I would like to investigate a few of the topics discussed in the original draft:

  1. What has happened to the tomato industry in all three countries since 2010?  Have changes been made regarding Canada’s “bulk water transfer” prohibitions?  I believe the footnote on page 14 to now be false.  Canadian exports of tomatoes in the winter seem to have increased and some U.S. states have entered the domestic market such as Michigan and New York.  I would like to further investigate this trend.  It could possibly be limited to what I see in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Region.
  2. What are the recent rulings of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT).  What other controversies besides lumber are being discussed?
  3. Do international and regional commissions help dismantle protectionism and help policy makers overcome the influence of big business?  We should pay attention to their rulings in the face of the current U.S. administration.
  4. What were the major changes in the Agricultural Act (2014) from the Food, Conversation, and Energy Act (2008)?
  5. What were the implications for the U.S. cotton industry since 2001?  How has the WTO ruling reduced cotton production in the United States?  Which regions of the country were most effected?  Does the cotton industry still receive 13% of U.S. agricultural subsidies as it did in 2001?



One response to “NAFTA – agricultural trends and the future of the trade agreement

  1. Pingback: Cotton subsidies and total production per county | peterabraldes

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