The Trump administration has already insisted on renegotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement and the U.S. pact with South Korea (KORUS), but there is no sign that free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama are in jeopardy for the same treatment. That’s according to USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, who visited both countries last week and spoke to reporters in a teleconference from Panama. “I think the free trade agreements have been a good thing for all of the countries – the U.S., Colombia and Panama,” McKinney said. “I’ve not received any questions nor am I aware of any redo of the free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama.” McKinney also visited Brazil where he discussed the ban on imports of the country’s fresh and chilled beef. The product was banned in June after U.S. inspectors found “repeated import violations such as abscesses, ingesta and unidentified foreign material (in) raw intact beef product” from eight Brazilian packing plants. McKinney said he reaffirmed that the USDA now does NOT consider Brazil’s meat safety protocols to be equivalent to U.S. standards. However, he said the situation can be fixed. As to whether Brazil would succeed and eventually resume exporting to the U.S., he added, “I think it’s just a matter of when, not if.”
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