Is NAFTA a Real Problem
or Only a Perceived Problem?

There is concern in Washington that Congress will fail to enact fast-track legislation for expansion of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Concern is especially felt by members of Congress representing rural districts and states dependent on a healthy agricultural economy for their overall well-being.

It seems farmers and ranchers are not as enthusiastic about NAFTA as they once were. Leadership of many farm and commodity groups is concerned that these "perceived" problems with NAFTA will prevent these groups from rallying their membership to support new fast-track authority.

Let us take a moment, answer a few questions and determine whether farmers and ranchers are having "perceived" or "real" problems with NAFTA.

Can we not agree that U.S. producers are educated, informed and totally immersed in pro-NAFTA information? Then why do so many farmers "perceive" there is a problem with NAFTA for production agriculture in the U.S.? Why do they not support NAFTA as many perceived they did prior to its ratification in 1993?

There can be only one of two answers:

1. There are "real" problems for U.S. farmers and ranchers with NAFTA; or

2. National Farmers Union is the most effective, influential farm organization in U.S. history.

If you picked answer number two, God Bless You. But in all honesty, NFU, as good as it is, has not brainwashed all those disgruntled producers. The fact is, there are "real" problems with NAFTA, and those problems must be addressed prior to any expansion of the trade pact.

Vice President of Government Relations
National Farmers Union
400 Virginia Ave., S.W., Suite 710
Washington, DC 20024

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