Wallaces Farmer

U.S. joins Mexico in approving new NAFTA, pact awaits action in Canada.

Compiled by staff

January 29, 2020

3 Min Read
MEXICO FALLS SHORT ON USMCA: Mexico's move away from agricultural biotechnology does not meet standards set in USMCA trade agreement.wildpixel/iStock/GettyImagesPlus

President Trump signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement today, surrounded by business leaders wearing hard hats, USA Today reported.

American Soybean Association and National Corn Growers Association members also attended the White House ceremony.

“This final step by President Trump ensures soybean growers will maintain access to two of their top markets, and it will also support the poultry and dairy industries that are important to soy,” said Bill Gordon, ASA president and grower from Worthington, MN.

"This agreement should serve as a template for opening the door to new market opportunities for U.S. corn," said NCGA President Kevin Ross.

Mexico has already acted on the update to the North American Free Trade Agreement and Canada's Parliament is expected to act on the deal in the coming weeks or months. The agreement takes effect 90 days after all countries have approved it.

What's in the new deal? The New York Times details that. While Trump invited his supporters to the ceremony, he excluded Democrats. “We have replaced a disastrous trade deal,” Trump said in the ceremony, Politico reports.

But Democrats supported the USMCA. The final pact is the product of months of negotiations between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and a group of nine Democrats, who were concerned about the deal's enforcement, labor, environmental and drug-pricing provisions.

"Finishing the USMCA is a good sign for the future of U.S. agriculture. While the agreement itself is important, it also shows that Republicans and Democrats can still work together to get things done and open new markets for our products," said Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst.

Canada and Mexico are the two largest export markets for the U.S., according to USDA and the president's signature on the deal is welcomed.

"This agreement shows the rest of the world the United States is open for business," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. "USMCA is critical for America’s farmers and ranchers, who will now have even more market access to our neighbors to the north and the south. I am excited to see the economic benefits of this agreement increase the prosperity of all Americans, especially those living in rural America."

The USMCA is expected to increase agricultural exports from the U.S. by $2 billion and result in an overall increase of $65 billion in gross domestic product, according to American Farm Bureau Federation. Canada will increase quotas on U.S. dairy products, benefitting American dairy farmers by $242 million. Canada will also treat wheat imports the same as domestic wheat for grading purposes. Mexico has also agreed that all grading standards for ag products will be non-discriminatory. The agreement also enhances science-based trading standards among the three nations.

The signing ceremony increases hopes for 2020, AFBF President Zippy Duvall said.

“There is definitely increased optimism on farms and ranches across America and we’re grateful for the advances, but we’re also realists eager to see results – especially for our dairy and wheat producers,” Duvall said.

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