Farmers hopeful with Mexican trade deal


“We are thrilled to death to see Mexico and the United States coming to terms on this.”

Kerman’s Paul Betancourt farms and teaches the business of farming.

He’s applauding efforts by the White House to restructure trade deals with its neighbors.

“Non-tariff barriers have been used against Fresno County growers, and that’s been a concern to us,” said Betancourt.  “And President Trump has been the first one in D.C. or Sacramento who’s been willing to look at this and say, ‘yeah we have a problem’.”

Fresno Congressman Jim Costa says he won’t get a good look at the details of the deal with Mexico until Friday.  He says he plans to speak with Valley ag experts before forming an opinion.

“If it improves jobs here in California and across the country, and it allows Americans to be more competitive,” said Costa, “then those will all be plusses. But again I’ll reserve my judgment until I can read the full text of the agreement.”

But as it stands now, there is a giant country-sized hole in this deal.

Canada is not included.

Betancourt says California does $3 billion worth of trade with Canada every year.

He wants a deal to work, but says some things need to change.

“They’ve had nearly 300 percent tariffs on dairy products going into Canada,” said Betancourt. “Well that’s exactly the problem.  That’s not fair trade.”

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