Local farmer has concerns over trade deal that could replace NAFTA agreement

Local farmer has concerns over trade deal that could replace NAFTA agreement

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The US, Canada, and Mexico settled on a new deal Sunday that could replace the nearly 25-year-old NAFTA agreement.

Burt Tietje, the landowner of Tall Grass Farms said they rely solely on American trade.

“It’s vitally important to the United States, it’s incredibly important to Jeff Davis Parish where I live. It’s by far the biggest industry," explained Tietje.

This is why the President’s new plan to replace NAFTA raises some concern for the local farmer.

“I go back to the fact that we’ve lost all of our major rice markets for the past 70 years due to politics," Tietje said. "All of these were terribly important to the Louisiana rice industry specifically and we lost all of those due to political problems not the quality of our grain.”

Tietje says he’s not opposed to the new plan but wants to see whats being promised fulfilled.

“The devil will be in the details and we simply don’t know what the details are yet," Tietje said.

Bill Rase, Executive Director for the Port of Lake Charles, agrees.

“It has to be approved by congress, so until that point, if there isn’t an agreement and there isn’t a NAFTA, then I think it does effect the agricultural business in this area," Rase said.

Dr. Mike Strain, the Commissioner of Agriculture & Forestry, says that after almost 25 years a change is what thy need.

“Now, we have a new modernized version of this that has dealt with the issues of the day. I think you’re going to see market continued growth between all three nations," said Strain.

Tietje hopes that this is the case. “We just don’t want us to lose this trade that we developed to politics. We want to produce a good quality product and sell it to the world. That’s what we want to do. Let us do it," said Tietje.

To see how the new deal differs from NAFTA, click HERE.

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