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USMCA Is Big Win for Ag, Says Perdue
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is on its way to helping farmers, says U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced agreement today.
“USMCA is a big win for American workers and the economy, especially for our farmers and ranchers. The agreement improves virtually every component of the old NAFTA, and the agriculture industry stands to gain significantly,” said Secretary Perdue. “While I am very encouraged by today’s breakthrough, we must not lose sight – the House and Senate need to work diligently to pass USMCA by Christmas.”
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.
More of Perdue’s Statement:
USMCA will advance U.S. 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.
Peterson and Costa statements
House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson and House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa released the following statements today following the announcement of a deal between House Democrats and the White House on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“I have been pushing for months to get this deal to the finish line, and this announcement is great news for farmers, businesses, and workers, in western Minnesota and nationwide,” said Peterson. “The threat of leaving NAFTA without a deal would have been devastating, and this deal provides needed certainty for our producers. This agreement makes updates to how the three countries will address biotechnology, and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues. The USMCA also preserves the market our farmers are currently accessing while making modest gains for our dairy, poultry, and wheat growers in the Canadian market. Rural America has faced many hurdles and challenges with these trade wars, and passing the USMCA is a step in the right direction.”
“Trade is vital to American agriculture, especially for the specialty crop, tree nut, dairy, and livestock producers in the San Joaquin Valley and across California,” said Costa. “The USMCA protects the access they had into the Canadian and Mexican markets, and provides nominal gains in some important areas. It’s good to see that this deal strengthens labor and environmental standards and provides mechanisms to enforce this agreement. I am proud to support approval of the USMCA, but we also must recognize that going forward, incremental improvements and protecting the status quo won’t reverse farmer losses as a result of the trade war. For that to happen, the administration needs to remove its tariffs, which are the source of so much economic hardship for our farmers, and at the core of our depressed farm economy.”
Farmers for Free Trade Statement
Today, Angela Hofmann, coexecutive director of Farmers for Free Trade, the national, bipartisan coalition of America’s leading ag commodity and business groups, released the following statement on the Congressional agreement to consider the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“This is welcome news and a relief for American farmers. Now it’s time to get the bill passed before politics can get in the way. Farmers and ranchers will be watching closely to ensure that their members of Congress are standing up for American agriculture.
“If Congress can come together to pass USMCA it will deliver a measure of certainty farmers badly need right now. Farmers have been struggling in the face of bad weather and unpredictable trade policy. Passing USMCA will guarantee that our farmers’ closest and most important markets, will remain free from tariffs and red tape. NAFTA has been a windfall for American agriculture and USMCA is projected to build on that success by growing farm exports and modernizing ag trade.
“We commend Speaker Pelosi, Ambassador Lighthizer, and the many Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle who have worked diligently to get to a deal. It’s a great reminder that opening markets for American farmers should never be a partisan issue. We urge both sides to continue to heed the calls of American farmers and quickly pass this agreement.”