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NATIONAL CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION DISAGREES WITH PEROT AND OTHER NAFTA CRITICS

 WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Cattlemen's Association (NCA) is working aggressively to dispel wrong information about the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on the U.S. beef business, according to NCA President Roger Stuber of Bowman, N.D.
 "NCA supports the NAFTA for a simple reason," said Stuber. "It is a good growth opportunity for the U.S. beef business. Mexico and Canada are natural markets for us to expand into. We would not support it otherwise."
 NCA has joined a broad-based coalition of agricultural-producer organizations and agribusinesses called Ag for NAFTA to lobby for passage of the agreement.
 Stuber said it is unfortunate that NAFTA opponents have chosen to focus only on fear of the unknown. "People cannot make good decisions with wrong information. We will lose a great opportunity if the NAFTA is not passed," he said.
 An example of wrong information about the NAFTA is found in an anti- NAFTA book co-authored by Ross Perot and Pat Choate. They claim the NAFTA will shift the U.S. beef industry to Mexico because of lower costs and weaker safety standards there, according to NCA.
 "That is not the case," says NCA Foreign Trade Committee Chairman Clay Daulton of Madera, Calif. "Right now there is nothing to keep U.S. businesses from moving to Mexico. Ross Perot is a businessman. He should know better. The real issue is productivity. The U.S. is the most efficient producer of high-quality beef in the world. Mexico does not have the forage or other feed supplies to steal the U.S. beef industry. The agreement requires the Mexican sanitation standards to be equal to ours. Our strict safety and inspection standards still will apply."
 Perot also decries, according to NCA, the fact that NAFTA would exempt Mexico from the U.S. Meat Import Act, which controls beef imports.
 He has left out a key piece of information, said Daulton. "Mexico is a negligible exporter of beef to the U.S. They do export feeder cattle, but those exports have slowed because of a strong domestic market there," he said.
 Daulton pointed out that the NAFTA would make Mexico a much less risky market. "Last fall Mexico imposed tariffs on imports of live cattle and beef which already have slowed growth of our market there," he said. "The NAFTA would immediately eliminate those tariffs for the U.S."
 Mexico currently is the third largest export market for the U.S. beef business. Last year U.S. exports of beef and variety meats to Mexico amounted to $260 million. That market has grown about $50 million per year since 1989. The value of live cattle exports to Mexico in 1992 was $149.5 million.
 NCA is the national spokesperson for the beef cattle industry. It represents 230,000 professional cattle producers, including members in 75 affiliated state cattle and national beef breed organizations.
 -0- 9/7/93
 /CONTACT: Alan Sobba or Betsy Marchesseault of the National Cattlemen's Association, 202-347-0228/


CO: National Cattlemen's Association ST: District of Columbia IN: AGR SU: ECO

KD-DC -- DC043 -- 9490 09/07/93 16:44 EDT
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Date:Sep 7, 1993
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