Ag News: NAFTA Talks Accelerate
**The pace of NAFTA negotiations has recently accelerated, as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his counterparts from Canada and Mexico just concluded four days of ministerial-level meetings.
While it’s unclear when negotiations will conclude, the three will reportedly reconvene May 7th, while technical-level talks continue.
A U.S. Meat Export Federation representative says while the U.S. is by far the largest supplier of red meat to Mexico, major competitors like the European Union are definitely interested in serving the market.
**The USDA announced it will not regulate genetically altered plants as long as they’re developed through traditional breeding methods, affirming that genome editing allows breeders to introduce new traits faster and more precisely.
The National Grape Research Alliance reports there is much more work to be done, but the USDA's decision will help accelerate development of grape varieties resistant to pests and diseases, tolerant to changing a environment, and other desirable traits.
Transgenic or genetically modified crops, plants with artificially inserted genes from other species, aka GMOs-will still be regulated.
**Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue told senators recently he’s encouraging President Trump to consider rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 11-nation trade deal the president pulled out of days after taking office.
According to the Washington Post, Perdue’s comment is the latest mixed signal from the Trump administration over the TPP, which Trump recently told senators he’s open to rejoining, only to subsequently suggest over Twitter that he’s not.