The following statement may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:
“The administration’s submitting the Statement of Administration Action on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to Congress is good news for U.S. farmers and ranchers. This notice means that we are one step closer to locking in vital market opportunities developed with our North American neighbors and expanding further on the gains we’ve made over the past three decades.
“The USMCA will provide new market access for dairy and poultry products and maintains the zero-tariff platform on most ag products. It includes provisions for improved health and safety standards that will reduce trade-distorting practices. It also contains measures that address cooperation, information sharing and other trade rules among the three nations related to agricultural biotechnology and gene editing. We still have work to do in some areas, such as addressing the timing of import surges from Mexico to ensure they do not harm our domestic fruit and vegetable sectors. However, we need to secure the gains that are in front of us today.
“The SAA begins a 30-day period after which the administration may submit implementing legislation for the USMCA to be considered by Congress. It is an important step toward a vote on the agreement.
“The USMCA is a hard-fought win for agriculture and we commend the administration for its efforts to solidify two of our most vital trade relationships. We now call on Congress to ratify the deal.”
NPPC Appeal: Let’s Move Forward with USMCA, Leave Tariffs at Zero
In response to President Trump’s plan to impose five percent tariffs on all Mexican imports as of June 10, 2019, David Herring, president of the National Pork Producers Council and a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina, issued the following statement:
“We appeal to President Trump to reconsider plans to open a new trade dispute with Mexico. American pork producers cannot afford retaliatory tariffs from its largest export market, tariffs which Mexico will surely implement. Over the last year, trade disputes with Mexico and China have cost hard-working U.S. pork producers and their families approximately $2.5 billion.
“Let’s move forward with ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, preserving zero-tariff pork trade in North America for the long term; complete a trade agreement with Japan; and resolve the trade dispute with China, where U.S. pork has a historic opportunity to dramatically expand exports given the countries struggle with African swine fever.
“We hope those members of Congress who are working to restrict the administration’s trade relief programs take note. While these programs provide only partial relief to the damage trade retaliation has exacted on U.S. agriculture, they are desperately needed. We need the full participation of all organizations involved in the U.S. pork supply chain for these programs to deliver their intended benefits.”
For most of the last year, U.S. pork producers have lost $12 per hog due to trade retaliation by Mexico, which was lifted last week, according to Iowa State University Economist Dermot Hayes. Dr. Hayes projects that the U.S. pork producers will lose the entire Mexican market, one that represented 20 percent of total U.S. pork exports last year, if they face protracted retaliation. As of April 1, 2019, the value of U.S. pork exports to Mexico were down 28 percent from the same period last year.
From National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern:
“Senator Chuck Grassley is right: Border security issues are border security issues, and trade issues are trade issues. New tariffs against Mexico are unlikely to secure the border, but judging from reaction on Capitol Hill, they may very well jeopardize the chances of passing the USMCA, a key White House priority and one that’s crucial for future agricultural prosperity.
“For dairy farmers, renewed turmoil with Mexico also threatens gains made earlier this month, when Mexico dropped retaliatory tariffs against U.S. cheese. Re-escalating trade tensions only harms farmers further, just when they were seeing glimmers of hope.”
NMPF estimates that producers have lost at least $2.3 billion in revenues through March due to higher tariffs against U.S. dairy, which has lowered milk prices for all producers.