American Farmers Hoping for Economic Gains from NAFTA Talks
In August, the United States began renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico.
As a candidate for president, Donald Trump called for talks on reworking the 1994 agreement, known as NAFTA.
One result of NAFTA was an increase in agricultural exports from the United States. So American farmers are worried that any changes to the trade deal could hurt them financially.
Ken Beck is a farmer in the state of Illinois. He says it is not easy to grow crops now.
"Risky at best. There is no money in this game anymore."
Beck says his farm has been losing money in each of the past four years. He says corn and soy prices have dropped, while costs for fertilizer and seed are rising. He believes that the U.S. government can help him and other farmers by increasing trade.
His hopes for increased demand, and higher crop prices, ended when the Trump administration decided to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP agreement. That is why Beck is closely watching the U.S. efforts to renegotiate NAFTA.
"For a corn producer, grain producer, NAFTA's been extremely good."
The United States is one of the top suppliers of agricultural products to Mexico. The U.S. exported more than $2.5 billion in corn to its southern neighbor in 2016. But this year there has been a decrease in Mexican imports of U.S. corn and soybean. Beck says that is because Mexico is buying crops from other countries.
"Mexico, for the first time in history, bought corn from Argentina. Was it cheaper? No. But they are sending a signal."
Other signs that worry Beck are coming from President Trump, including his threat to withdraw from NAFTA. Beck says this creates uncertainty for American farmers.
Tamara Nelsen works for the Illinois Farm Bureau, a non-profit group working for the state's farmers.
"If you have a shock -- like pulling out of TPP or not keeping the agreement going on NAFTA, it makes the markets nervous and it lowers the farmers' farm income."
Nelsen says many farmers are worried.
"We hope that some of the rhetoric, like anti-trade, anti-exports for agriculture, will turn around and we'll actually have some achievements."
Farmer Ken Beck says he hopes only small changes will be made to NAFTA. And he says he hopes that whatever changes are made take place soon.
"Decisions in the next few weeks are going to have to be made for next year already."
I'm Phil Dierking.
1.free trade 自由贸易
I support your advocacy of free trade.
2.known as 被称为
In Los Angeles, the neighborhood known as Watts erupted into riots.
3.take place 举行
A total solar eclipse is due to take place some time tomorrow.
4.withdraw from 退出
The African National Congress threatened to withdraw from the talks.
1."If you have a shock -- like pulling out of TPP or not keeping the agreement going on NAFTA, it makes the markets nervous and it lowers the farmers' farm income."
pull out 退出
The World Bank should pull out of the project.
The militia in Lebanon has agreed to pull out of Beirut.
2."We hope that some of the rhetoric, like anti-trade, anti-exports for agriculture, will turn around and we'll actually have some achievements."
turn around 转身；返回
Bud turned the truck around, and started back for Dalton Pond.
Turning the company around won't be easy.
NAFTA协议的成果之一是增加了美国农产品的出口 。因此，一些美国农民担心该协议的任何变动可能会损害他们的经济利益 。
肯·贝克（Ken Beck）是伊利诺伊州的农民 。他说，现在种植庄稼并不省心 。
“风险很高 。这个行业的市场前景堪忧 。”
贝克表示，过去的4年里，他的农场每年都亏损 。他说，玉米和大豆的价格下跌，而化肥和种子的成本却上涨 。他觉得，美国政府可通过增加贸易帮他们走出困境 。
他希望政府扩大需求并提高农作物价格，可当特朗普政府决定退出跨太平洋伙伴关系时，这一希望破灭了 。这也是贝克密切关注美国就修订NAFTA协议重新谈判的原因 。
美国是墨西哥最大的农产品供应商之一 。2016年，美国向墨西哥出口的玉米总价值超25亿美元 。而今年，墨西哥对美国玉米和大豆的进口数量有所下降 。贝克表示，这是因为墨西哥从其它国家进口农作物 。
他说：“墨西哥有史以来首次从阿根廷进口玉米 。是因为价格便宜？不 。他们是在发出一个信号 。”
而贝克担心的其它迹象则是来自特朗普总统，包括他威胁退出北美自由贸易协定 。贝克表示，这让美国农民人心惶惶 。
塔玛拉·尼尔森（Tamara Nelsen）在伊利诺伊州农业局工作，这家非营利性机构主要服务于该州的农民 。
贝克表示，他希望NAFTA协议只作些微小改动 。他希望不管结果如何，但是要尽早修订协议 。
贝克表示：“ 我们必须在未来几周内规划好明年的发展 。”