Cotton Industry Wary of Upcoming NAFTA Negotiations


The new budget coming from the White House includes a number of program reductions and eliminations that could vastly affect the US agriculture industry. Reece Langley is Vice-President of Washington Operations for the National Cotton Council…

“For agriculture, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s budget, the proposed reduction in mandatory spending including things like the farm bill programs, crop insurance, and food and nutrition assistance, the overall proposed reduction is about $240 billion over the next ten years. 

“A significant portion of those cuts would come out of the nutrition and food assistance programs, but also proposes large cuts to crop insurance, conservation, and foreign policy programs.

“In addition to that the proposed budget would suggest eliminating critical market development and export promotion programs such as MAP and FMD, which are critical to the work that Cotton International performs.”

The new White House budget includes some severe cuts across the board for all agencies.  But Langley says very little–if any–of those budget proposals are expected to make it into final legislation…”

“Congress typically dismisses most of those proposals and writes the annual funding bills to represent their own priorities and the priorities of industries and constituencies.  So, National cotton Council will be heavily focused on making sure our allies in congress know our priorities when it comes to maintaining the existing programs in the farm bill, as well as what we need in the annual appropriations bill for USDA, which would include the critical funding for things like MAP and FMD, for market promotion. 

“But, also full funding for the pest eradication programs, the industries cotton ginning labs, and other programs important to the cotton industry.  So, we’ll vigilant in working with our allies in congress to make sure those programs are fully funded in the next fiscal year.”  

The Trump Administration has announced plans to start re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was approved more than twenty years ago.

Langley said it’s important that the upcoming negotiations don’t derail the benefits the cotton industry gained in the first agreement…

“There will opportunities, both formally and informally, for industry and stakeholders to provide their input to administration, and the National Cotton Council, working with our other associated groups and industry members will be participating in both those formal and informal sessions, so that we can share our priorities, which are 1) to make sure that we do no harm to the current market access that cotton and cotton textiles have in Mexico and Canada.  

“But, then also looking for those areas where there can be improvement to ensure that we maintain a strong yarn-forward rule of origins, making sure that the new NAFTA agreement, which is expected to not be reached before this year at the earliest and possible 2018, making sure that new agreement continues to provide important trade benefits.”

Reece Langley of the National Cotton Council

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.