The recent move by Canada and Mexico to lift tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods will provide a needed boost to California producers, the leader of the state's Farm Bureau says.
Canada represents the second-largest market for California agricultural exports, with sales of more than $3.3 billion in 2016, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Mexico is the No. 5 foreign market for California farm products, with sales of more than $1 billion in 2016.
“With Canada and Mexico agreeing to lift their retaliatory tariffs on many California agricultural products, it will provide a boost in exports and have a ripple effect throughout the farm and rural economy,” says Jamie Johansson, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation.
The move follows President Donald Trump's decision last week to remove steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexican and Canadian imports.
Johansson believes the action "eliminates a major obstacle" to passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a negotiated update of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The next step, he says, is for the president to submit USMCA to Congress for approval.
“We urge our California senators and representatives to work together for quick passage of USMCA,” Johansson says. “This could be a bipartisan achievement resulting in a big victory for the family farm.”
Maintaining healthy trade with the U.S.' two neighbors will be crucial for California commodities stung by a prolonged trade war with China, which heated up anew earlier this month when talks between the two nations collapsed.