Smith encouraged by trade deal with Mexico, beef producers hopeful

Rep. Adrian Smith talks taxes and trade at the state fair (NTV News)

The beef that Nebraskans throw on the grill this Labor Day is the envy of the world, and ranchers hope a Mexican trade deal announced this week is a turning point that could spur more trade.

"Over $300 dollars a head in our foreign markets, so it is very important," said Mike Drinnen, president-elect of the Nebraska Cattlemen.

Mexico buys millions in beef cuts that Americans don't usually eat, like tongue and liver. Whether there's another bilateral agreement with Canada, or all three countries come together, Farm Bureau leader welcome the news.

"That's good for Nebraska agriculture and good for the US and we look forward to that being completed," said Steve Nelson of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

Congressman Adrian Smith expects Canada to come on board soon.

"I don't expect perfection but moving us forward in a more modern structure for NAFTA is what the objective is and I'm encouraged we can get there. The sooner the better," Smith said.

Smith told ag leaders at a roundtable that the president is trying to protect American industries, but he says tariff is another word for tax, and he wants to eliminate them.

"Look at bringing down tariffs as a means to open up trade," Smith said.

Cattlemen say they're trying to be patient, and hope the deal with Mexico is a sign of more agreements to come.

Drinnen said, "The word we have caught back to the president is protect agriculture and I think he's heard us and I think we're being patient and I think it'll be good for everybody in the long run."

Rep. Smith also talked about "tax relief 2.0" and said he continues to gather feedback on how to improve the tax climate.

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