Jan 16, 2020
US-Mexico-Canada deal passes with ag support

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after the Senate passed on Jan. 16 the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by a bipartisan vote of 89-10.

“We’ve long waited for this day and now USMCA will finally head to the president’s desk,” Perdue said. “The passage of USMCA is great news for America’s farmers and ranchers. With congressional consideration now complete, our farmers and ranchers are eager to see the president sign this legislation and begin reaping the benefits of this critical agreement. I thank President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for successfully delivering an improved and modern trade agreement and working so hard for the people of American agriculture to get this deal across the finish line.”

Background:

USMCA will advance United States agricultural interests in two of the most important markets for American farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses. This high-standard agreement builds upon our existing markets to expand United States food and agricultural exports and support food processing and rural jobs.

Canada and Mexico are our first and second-largest export markets for United States food and agricultural products, totaling more than $39.7 billion food and agricultural exports in 2018. These exports support more than 325,000 American jobs.

All food and agricultural products that have zero tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will remain at zero tariffs. Since the original NAFTA did not eliminate all tariffs on agricultural trade between the United States and Canada, the USMCA will create new market access opportunities for United States exports to Canada of dairy, poultry, and eggs, and in exchange the United States will provide new access to Canada for some dairy, peanut, and a limited amount of sugar and sugar-containing products.

Earlier this year, nearly 1,000 American food and agriculture associations and companies announced their support for USMCA and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture signed a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to ratify USMCA.

In September, all former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture since President Reagan’s Administration announced support for USMCA. In a letter to Congressional leaders, former Secretaries John Block (Reagan), Mike Espy (Clinton), Dan Glickman (Clinton), Ann Veneman (W. Bush), Mike Johanns (W. Bush), Ed Shafer (W. Bush), and Tom Vilsack (Obama) underscored the importance of passing USMCA saying, “We need a strong and reliable trade deal with our top two customers for U.S. agriculture products. USMCA will provide certainty in the North American market for the U.S. farm sector and rural economy. We strongly support ratification of USMCA.”

Key Provision: Increasing Dairy Market Access

  • America’s dairy farmers will have expanded market opportunities in Canada for a wide variety of dairy products. Canada agreed to eliminate the unfair Class 6 and 7 milk pricing programs that allowed their farmers to undersell U.S. producers.

Key Provision: Biotechnology

  • For the first time, the agreement specifically addresses agricultural biotechnology – including new technologies such as gene editing – to support innovation and reduce trade-distorting policies.

 Key Provision: Geographical Indications

  • The agreement institutes a more rigorous process for establishing geographical indicators and lays out additional factors to be considered in determining whether a term is a common name.

 Key Provision: Sanitary/Phytosanitary Measures

  • The three countries agree to strengthen disciplines for science-based measures that protect human, animal, and plant health while improving the flow of trade.

 Key Provision: Poultry and Eggs

  • U.S. poultry producers will have expanded access to Canada for chicken, turkey, and eggs.

 Key Provision: Wheat

  • Canada agrees to terminate its discriminatory wheat grading system, enabling U.S. growers to be more competitive.

 Key Provision: Wine and Spirits

  • The three countries agree to avoid technical barriers to trade through non-discrimination and transparency regarding sale, distribution, labeling, and certification of wine and distilled spirits.

Statement by Jim Bair, President & CEO ,U.S. Apple Association 

“U.S. apple growers across the nation today are applauding the Senate for getting the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) over the finish line with overwhelming bipartisan support. Senate passage of the USMCA is significant for the U.S. Apple Association and its members as Mexico and Canada represent our top two export markets, totaling nearly a half-billion dollars in annual sales.

“Throughout USMCA negotiations during the past year, USApple members have rolled up their sleeves and carried out unprecedented advocacy efforts to help secure ratification of the agreement. The USMCA, like its predecessor, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), is good for apples. Under NAFTA, apple exports to Mexico quadrupled and those to Canada doubled. Maintaining the apple industry’s important trading partnerships with Mexico and Canada under the USMCA has been a top priority for the apple industry. We now look forward to President Trump signing the agreement into law.”

 Statement from United Fresh Produce Association

Today, the United States Senate voted 89-10 to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The agreement will now go to the President for his signature, which finalizes its enactment. United Fresh Produce Association strongly supports passage of the USMCA. Canada and Mexico are the two largest markets for fresh produce and their importance to American agriculture cannot be overstated.

“The produce industry is one of the cornerstones of the original NAFTA agreement and its continued success is vital for the economic well-being of all three countries. The USMCA includes important reforms that will ensure that the success of NAFTA will continue well into the 21st Century,” said Tom Stenzel, President & CEO of United Fresh Produce Association.

“The fresh produce industry is eager for the passage and implementation of the USMCA to ensure that the growth of trade over the last quarter century is sustained and that we build upon the investments made by businesses in all three countries. This agreement is most important as we continue to meet the demands from consumers for increased availability of healthy fresh fruits and vegetables. Finally, we believe this new trade agreement will strengthen our partnership between the three countries and provide essential cooperation in the fresh fruit and vegetable industry.”

Association of Equipment Manufacturers hails USMCA Senate passage

Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) senior vice president of government and industry relations Kip Eideberg issued the following statement on the U.S. Senate passing implementing language to ratify the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) today:

“Equipment manufacturers, farmers, and hardworking families across the country are thankful for today’s full congressional ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA),” said Kip Eideberg, AEM senior vice president of government and industry relations. “This new agreement updates the current, decades-old trade deal, supporting a modernized global marketplace. As members of the USMCA Coalition, we are proud to have joined more than 600 associations and business groups in advocating for a stronger trade deal that will add up to $68 billion to our economy, create 176,000 jobs, and preserve duty-free market access to our Canadian and Mexican trading partners. We applaud President Trump, Vice President Pence, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, and House Speaker Pelosi for their efforts to negotiate and ratify the agreement.” 

Since the creation of NAFTA two decades ago, equipment manufacturers have benefited greatly from duty-free market access to our industry’s two largest export markets, Canada and Mexico. Equipment manufacturers support 1.3 million jobs in the U.S. and 149,000 in Canada. The industry also contributes $188 billion to the U.S. and Canadian economies.

Over the past two years, AEM has called on both the Trump Administration and Congress to deliver an updated North American trade agreement for the 21st century. USMCA fulfills many of our industry’s goals and strengthens North American equipment manufacturing.

Efforts include co-hosting the Honorable Mike Pence, vice president of the United States, at an equipment manufacturing facility earlier this year in support of the agreement, sending a letter in support of the USMCA to Chairman Neal (D-Mass.) and the nine members of the House Democrats’ Trade Working Group, and running an ongoing public education campaign on the various benefits of a ratified USMCA. AEM is also a member of the USMCA Coalition.

Statement of National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) President Chuck Conner

“The Senate’s approval today of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is a victory for America’s farmers and their co-ops and will help ensure continued access to two of the largest markets for U.S. agricultural exports. Combined with yesterday’s signing of a phase one trade agreement with China, USMCA’s passage will help provide certainty for hundreds of thousands of producers as they begin planning for the 2020 crop season.”

Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America’s farmer cooperatives.  Its members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of nearly 2,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country.  NCFC members also include 26 state and regional councils of cooperatives.  Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets.

National Potato Council (NPC)l statement on passage of USMCA passage

“This huge bipartisan vote clearly shows that USMCA is a valuable new agreement that will enhance our trading relationship with two of our top three export markets,” said NPC VP of Trade Affairs Jared Balcom.

California Farm Bureau pleased with action

Following today’s passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement by the U.S. Senate, the California Farm Bureau Federation said the trade pact will help farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses throughout the state.

“Passage of the USMCA has been a top priority for Farm Bureau and other farm organizations, and we’re excited to have achieved the milestone of congressional passage,” CFBF President Jamie Johansson said. “Today’s Senate vote brings us closer to realizing the agreement’s benefits to California.”

President Trump’s signature on the USMCA will finalize its ratification by the United States. Mexico has also ratified the agreement. The Canadian House of Commons is expected to vote on the pact in coming weeks.

“We’re grateful to the many California farmers and ranchers who contacted their elected representatives on behalf of USMCA, and we thank Senator Feinstein for her vote to approve the agreement,” Johansson said. “The USMCA will further open markets for California-grown food and agricultural products, and will benefit the tens of thousands of Californians whose jobs rely on farm exports to Canada and Mexico.

“This has been a big week for trade developments, considering the signing of a Phase 1 agreement between the U.S. and China,” Johansson said. “We’re hopeful the Phase 1 agreement will ultimately lead to further easing of trade between the two nations, and that the United States will continue to pursue trade policies that open markets for high-quality California farm products.”





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