Cargill CEO warns of dangers in leaving Nafta

United States
Published:  17 August, 2017

David MacLennan, Chief Executive of U.S. based Cargill, the world’s largest agricultural commodities provider, says it would be a “mistake” for the American economy to exit the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) as the U.S. Government engages into talks to renegotiate the agreement with Canada and Mexico.

Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, recently stated that Nafta had “fundamentally failed many, many Americans and needs major improvement.” The U.S. President Donald Trump, who decided against withdrawing from Nafta in April after intense lobbying by business and from within his own cabinet, has threatened to exit the trade agreement if a “fair” deal is not reached for the American workers. MacLennan has urged the U.S. to focus on improving the 23-year-old trade agreement that has been, overall, of great benefit to all the member countries.

“For an administration that has talked about their support of the American economy and support of the American worker and support of American jobs, to walk away from Nafta would be in diametric opposition to those goals,” MacLennan told British newspaper Financial Times. During the former Obama administration, Cargill is said to have supported the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP). Trump’s decision to stop the deal was damaging for the U.S. agricultural sector, according to MacLennan. The agricultural giant is now closely watching how the relationship with China will unfold in the near future, particularly as Trump has recently decided to investigate the theft of intellectual property by China, what could provoke an undesirable trade war between both countries according to some trade experts.

In 2016, trade with Canada and Mexico is said to have accounted for about 10% of Cargill’s US$110 billion in revenues in fiscal 2016. One in 10 acres of farmland in the U.S. is used to service exports to Nafta neighbours.

Source: The Financial Times

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