U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says trade is critically important to U.S. farmers and ranchers, who cannot afford to have trade with key partners disrupted. Perdue spoke Thursday at the World Meat Congress in Dallas, hosted by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and the International Meat Secretariat.
On the same day the U.S. announced it will end exemptions of steel and aluminum tariffs for Mexico and Canada, along with the European Union, Perdue says the U.S., Canada and Mexico have too much in common to allow a trade disruption.
Perdue added that he is hopeful agreement can be reached on a revised NAFTA this year, but conceded there are hurdles ahead, including July elections in Mexico and the fall U.S. midterm elections.
Meanwhile, regarding China, another top destination of U.S. agricultural exports with a high demand for U.S. meats, Purdue says the administration is working to remove trade barriers as part of the talks with China.
The current trade climate is causing anxiety for U.S. farmers. Perdue says he understands.