North Dakota experts:

New US trade agreement just 'tip of the iceberg'

Although the leaders of the US, Mexico and Canada have announced a new trade agreement to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, North Dakota industries say there's still much the pact has left to address.

The new deal, referred to as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, will directly benefit US dairy farmers, automobile manufacturers and wheat producers.  Still, some of those same wheat growers, in conjunction with fresh potato growers and steel companies, say the deal isn't enough.

In upcoming discussions, potato growers are asking negotiators to address "ministerial exemptions" that forbid Canadian provinces from buying US potatoes until they consume all their own.

"Canada is a net exporter, so they grow and produce more potatoes than they can consume domestically," Northern Plains Potato Growers Association President Donovan Johnson said. "The issue isn't trade of US potatoes going into Canada, the issue is the excess amount of Canadian potatoes coming into the US marketplace. It's a one-way street, essentially."

Westfargopioneer.com reports how, unlike other industry representatives, Johnson said he wasn't surprised to find the new deal didn't address his group's concerns.


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