If Trump decides to stick it to Mexico in the upcoming NAFTA talks, US farming industry will take a hit. In advance of the talks, the Farm Lobby is Pressuring Trump.
Trump blames the North American Free Trade Agreement – the "worst trade deal ever" in his words – for millions of lost manufacturing jobs and promises to tilt it in America's favor.
But for U.S. farmers the 23-year old pact secures access to stable, lucrative markets in Mexico and Canada that now account for over a quarter of U.S. farm exports.
Another concern is that the mere uncertainty of open-ended trade talks could drive Mexico to alternative suppliers of grains, dairy products, beef and pork.
Next week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is due to outline the administration's goals for the NAFTA talks to Congress and the farm lobby has turned up the heat in the past weeks to ensure that its interests will make Lighthizer's list.
Operating under the umbrella of the U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade, more than 130 commodity groups and agribusiness giants since Trump's inauguration have been bombarding the new administration with phone calls and letters, public comments to USTR and face-to-face meetings with top officials who have Trump's ear.
Lobbyists said that Lighthizer, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross have been receptive, but the wild card is how Trump ultimately will come down on the talks. They also wonder what concessions Mexico will seek from Washington in the talks due to start in mid-August.