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Agricultural industry cautiously optimistic as NAFTA negotiations move forward

a farmhouse standing behind a row of crops
Bob Jagendorf

President Trump's announcement of a limited bilateral trade agreement with Mexico to replace NAFTA is being closely watched by the farming community.

The deal is a not a finished product, and it still needs to clear Congress.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue praised the tentative agreement.

“This breakthrough demonstrates that the president's common-sense strategy of holding trading partners accountable will produce results," he said. 

Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association, joined Stateside to talk about how the farming community feels about the situation. 

When President Trump discusses new trade agreements, it makes some people nervous, including farmers. But Byrum says he's optimistic about this latest bilateral trade agreement because he doesn't think it's all that different from the original NAFTA agreement. 

“This is a step forward. At least there’s an agreement in principle. The irony is there’s not a whole lot of change,” he explained. 

Listen above to hear why Mexico is such a crucial trading partner for Michigan farmers, and Byrum's concerns about our trade deals with other countries around the world.

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