Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Contact Us
Admin Login
- DTN Headline News
NAFTA, Tax Reform Eyed
Wednesday, August 23, 2017 6:32AM CDT

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) -- Though United States agriculture soon would like to see a bilateral trade agreement reached with Japan, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told reporters Tuesday he doesn't see that happening in the near future because of ongoing efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

The urgency to secure such an agreement with the Japanese came about as a result of President Donald Trump's administration backing out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership earlier this year.

What's more, that urgency may have heightened a bit as a result of Japan and the European Union signing an economic partnership agreement in July.

According to press reports, Japanese duties on processed pork are expected to be phased out in the next five years. This is similar to what the U.S. was negotiating with Japan through the TPP.

Grassley told agriculture journalists that he's not aware of any similar bilateral negotiations taking place between the U.S. and Japan at this point.

"The NAFTA timetable is aggressive," he said, "with two more rounds before the end of September. It's more important to negotiate a good deal. The Trump administration must negotiate a deal that Canada and Mexico can agree to and that Congress can pass. There are many aspects of the economy that NAFTA touches.

"Trump now has the opportunity to set new standards on trade agreements."

As for a bilateral agreement with Japan, Grassley said having the U.S. trade negotiator tied up with NAFTA makes it difficult to achieve.

"It has to be negotiated at the lower levels," he said, "because the trade negotiator is spending his time on NAFTA, and once Great Britain leaves the EU then we need to pursue a bilateral agreement. I haven't heard of any negotiations moving forward (on Japan, Great Britain). I don't think any trade agreement can be accomplished real easily."

Because of the 2018 presidential elections in Mexico, Grassley said the U.S. needs to move quickly on NAFTA.

In addition, the U.S. dairy industry has expressed concern about access to Canada's markets. For starters, Canada over-quota tariffs on U.S. imports stand at 24% for fluid milk, 201% for skim milk powder, 298% for butter and 245% for cheese.

Tom Vilsack, former U.S. secretary of agriculture and current president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, told a congressional committee in July that U.S. negotiators need to move fast to resolve problems with dairy access to Canada's markets.

Earlier this year Canada set a new pricing scheme that he said "essentially wiped out" an export market for ultra-filtered milk.

"Canada argues that they import large quantities of U.S. dairy product," Vilsack told Congress. "However, what Canada is not transparent about is how these imports are coming under a report program that forces the equivalent amount of dairy coming into Canada to be re-exported in many cases back to the United States."

According to the U.S. Dairy Export Council, U.S. dairy exports to Canada totaled $631.6 million in 2016, an increase of 14% from the previous year.

Grassley said it may not be necessary to take care of the dairy issues prior to passing a new NAFTA.


Grassley said a number of closed-door meetings have been held by staffers for a variety of committees, in the event that Congress will move forward with tax reform yet this year.

"The necessity, as well as the failure on health care, makes it important to get something done as a victory for this Congress and for greater economic growth," Grassley said. "I look forward to the opportunity to have real tax debate in regards to tax cuts and tax reform."

At the end of 2016, a number of key biofuels tax credits expired and have not been renewed. That includes the $1 biodiesel blenders tax credit, second-generation biofuel producer tax credit, the special depreciation allowance for second-generation biofuel plant property, and the alternative fuel vehicle refueling property credit.

Most of these credits are aimed at developing advanced biofuel technologies, including cellulosic ethanol. A number of companies have launched commercial production at a handful of plants across the country.

Grassley said if Congress is unable to achieve broader tax reform, there likely would need to be a separate bill by year's end to extend the biofuels tax provisions.

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN


blog iconDTN Blogs & Forums
DTN Market Matters Blog
Editorial Staff
Monday, August 21, 2017 11:11AM CDT
Monday, August 14, 2017 12:22PM CDT
Friday, August 11, 2017 12:22PM CDT
Technically Speaking
Darin Newsom
DTN Senior Analyst
Sunday, August 20, 2017 3:13PM CDT
Sunday, August 20, 2017 3:11PM CDT
Sunday, August 20, 2017 3:09PM CDT
Fundamentally Speaking
Joel Karlin
DTN Contributing Analyst
Monday, August 21, 2017 1:31PM CDT
Friday, August 11, 2017 7:49AM CDT
Wednesday, August 9, 2017 10:34AM CDT
DTN Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
Thursday, August 17, 2017 5:30PM CDT
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 6:14AM CDT
Monday, August 7, 2017 11:51PM CDT
Minding Ag's Business
Marcia Taylor
DTN Executive Editor
Friday, July 21, 2017 12:20PM CDT
Friday, July 7, 2017 9:36AM CDT
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 2:00PM CDT
DTN Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson
DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 7:31PM CDT
Monday, August 21, 2017 1:39PM CDT
Friday, August 18, 2017 4:03PM CDT
DTN Production Blog
Pam Smith
Crops Technology Editor
Friday, August 4, 2017 6:19PM CDT
Friday, July 28, 2017 8:25AM CDT
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 4:49PM CDT
Harrington's Sort & Cull
John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst
Friday, August 18, 2017 2:30PM CDT
Friday, August 11, 2017 3:13PM CDT
Friday, July 21, 2017 1:23PM CDT
South America Calling
Alastair Stewart
South America Correspondent
Thursday, August 17, 2017 3:02PM CDT
Wednesday, July 26, 2017 10:41AM CDT
Thursday, June 29, 2017 6:21PM CDT
An Urban’s Rural View
Urban Lehner
Editor Emeritus
Monday, August 21, 2017 11:49AM CDT
Monday, August 14, 2017 2:56PM CDT
Monday, August 7, 2017 3:09PM CDT
Machinery Chatter
Jim Patrico
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Friday, August 18, 2017 4:11PM CDT
Tuesday, August 8, 2017 8:55AM CDT
Wednesday, August 2, 2017 11:23AM CDT
Canadian Markets
Cliff Jamieson
Canadian Grains Analyst
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 6:25PM CDT
Monday, August 21, 2017 5:59PM CDT
Friday, August 18, 2017 5:05PM CDT
Editor’s Notebook
Greg D. Horstmeier
DTN Editor-in-Chief
Friday, August 18, 2017 11:33AM CDT
Monday, June 26, 2017 8:01AM CDT
Friday, June 2, 2017 9:41AM CDT
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN