Canada has agreed to join the United States and Mexico in a trade deal that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, U.S. and Canadian officials said Sept. 30
“Today, Canada and the United States reached an agreement, alongside Mexico, on a new, modernized trade agreement for the 21st Century: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA),” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in a joint statement. “USMCA will give our workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region.”
“It will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half billion people who call North America home,” Lighthizer and Freeland added.
“We look forward to further deepening our close economic ties when this new agreement enters into force,” they said in crediting Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo “for his close collaboration over the past 13 months.”
The U.S. had imposed a deadline of midnight Sunday with Canada to reach a new three-country deal.
The last-minute deal will provide U.S. with greater access to Canada’s dairy market, an issue that had been considered vital for U.S. dairy manufacturers, a senior administration official told reporters.
Agriculture Secretary Perdue responds
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding the announcement of a United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):
“The great news of a new USMCA deal is important for our economy as a whole, including the agricultural sector, which counts Canada and Mexico in our top three trading partners. I have long said that I believe our country is located in the best neighborhood on Earth – North America – with valuable allies to our north and south. We have secured greater access to these vital markets and will maintain and improve the highly productive integrated agricultural relationship we have as nations. Notably, as one of the President’s top goals, this deal eliminates Canada’s unfair ‘Class 7’ milk pricing scheme, cracks open additional access to U.S. dairy into Canada, and imposes new disciplines on Canada’s supply management system. The agreement also preserves and expands critical access for U.S. poultry and egg producers and addresses Canada’s discriminatory wheat grading process to help U.S. wheat growers along the border become more competitive.
“As we celebrate this breakthrough, it is worth noting that there were many detractors who said it couldn’t be done. But this is further proof that President Trump’s trade negotiation strategy is working. A renewed USMCA, a new KORUS agreement, and the continued progress with Japan, can lead to further deals with other trading partners like the European Union and China. The dominoes are falling and it is good news for U.S. farmers. I thank President Trump and our U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Lighthizer for their perseverance, leadership, and hard work.”
United Fresh reacts
“United Fresh is encouraged by the news that a revised tri-lateral agreement has been reached between the United States, Mexico and Canada. The strong relationships our members have established between these three countries have helped enable the growth of the fresh produce industry over the last quarter century. Coming on the heels of United Fresh’s annual Washington Conference and the inaugural Global Trade Forum in which this issue was front, and center and where attendees heard directly from key U.S. negotiators, the announcement of this revised agreement highlights the importance of our continued engagement on key policy issues by those in the produce industry. United Fresh looks forward to working with Congress to achieve the swift approval of this new agreement.”
Western Growers comment
Matt McInerney, senior executive vice president of Western Growers
, issued the following statement:
“Over the weekend, the United States, Mexico and Canada reached an agreement to modernize and rebalance trade between the countries. The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will enable food and agriculture to trade more fairly, and could help expand exports of American agricultural products. All food and agricultural products that have zero tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will remain at zero tariffs. Other achievements related to the fresh produce industry include:
Setting Standards for Agricultural Biotechnology
For the first time, the agreement specifically addresses agricultural biotechnology to support 21st century innovations in agriculture. The text covers all biotechnologies, including new technologies such as gene editing, whereas the Trans-Pacific Partnership text covered only traditional rDNA technology.
Commitments to Reduce Trade Distorting Policies, Improve Transparency, and Ensure Non-Discriminatory Treatment for Agricultural Product Standards
Building on NAFTA, the United States, Mexico, and Canada agreed to work together on agriculture matters, improve transparency and consultations on matters affecting trade among the countries.
Enhanced Rules for Science-Based Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
In the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures chapter, the United States, Mexico, and Canada have agreed to strengthen disciplines for science-based SPS measures, while ensuring Parties maintain their sovereign right to protect human, animal, and plant life or health. Provisions include increasing transparency on the development and implementation of SPS measures; advancing science-based decision making; improving processes for certification, regionalization and equivalency determinations; conducting systems-based audits; improving transparency for import checks; and working together to enhance compatibility of measures. The new agreement would establish a new mechanism for technical consultations to resolve issues between the parties.”