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NAFTA in a Nutshell

Why NAFTA matters

The North American Free Trade Agreement has provided the United States, Canada and Mexico with mutual access to one another’s markets for nearly 25 years.

As a result of that market access, North America has become one of the most competitive, successful and influential trade zones in the world—generating new opportunities to invest, expand business, create good jobs and wages, and boost the economies of the towns and regions all across the continent. Roughly 10 percent of Cargill’s global revenue is NAFTA-trade related. And in 43 of 50 U.S. states, Canada or Mexico is the first or second largest export market.

NAFTA creates demonstrated economic benefits.

Year after year, NAFTA has continued to demonstrate the economic benefits that result from open channels of trade. U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico, for example, have more than quadrupled under NAFTA—growing from about $9 billion in 1993 to almost $39 billion in 2015. And today, 10 percent of U.S. farm acres support exports to our two NAFTA trading partners.

Thanks to the trilateral NAFTA market, feeder cattle born in Mexico and Canada—and fed and processed in the United States—serve as a critical link in the value chain for the nearly $1.5 billion worth of beef products produced for the U.S. market and exported globally each year.

Canola meal from Cargill’s Canadian plants becomes a key ingredient in U.S. dairy feed that's fed to U.S. cows. This canola in turn supports enhanced milk production and more cost-competitive U.S. dairy exports, a quarter of which are sold to Mexico.

Many U.S. imports from Canada and Mexico actually contain high levels of U.S. content. In fact, more than 40 percent of Mexican imports are actually U.S.-produced components and inputs.

NAFTA lets us leverage our interconnectedness

The plain fact is that there is just one global economy in which all nations participate. And nations draw the most benefit from that global market when they open doors to trade rather than erect barriers.

NAFTA frees our three nations to leverage that economic interconnectedness so we can pursue the open and sustained commercial interaction that is essential to the health and survival of our economies.

That's why the mutual market access provided by NAFTA has produced such substantial economic gains for a wide range of beneficiaries at every level—including businesses, workers, their families and communities.

NAFTA has Cargill's support

And that’s why Cargill supports trade agreements like NAFTA, agreements that acknowledge and foster the interconnectedness of our food system, improve global food security, and reinforce the importance of rules in the global trading system. Cargill will continue its longstanding tradition of standing up for trade and will be a vocal advocate of the importance and benefits of NAFTA throughout negotiations. 

More in this section:

Why Trade Matters

Cargill’s business is feeding a hungry world. That means that food must be able to move to where it is needed, when it is needed—across countries, continents and oceans.

Trade Feeds the World

Trade is everywhere, just below the surface, in many—or even most—of the goods we use and consume every day.