The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) has now been agreed to by all three countries, once again uniting the North American markets into a single trade deal. United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue commended the efforts of everyone involved with negotiating the agreement and looks forward to continuing to cultivate the trade relationship moving forward.
“It’s an exciting day obviously for agriculture to have our three nations again put back together in a trilateral deal,” said Secretary Perdue. “It’s extremely important for our west coast producers in that market.”
Secretary Perdue highlighted the California dairy industry as one of the more significant benefactors of the trade agreement because of the removal of Canada’s two-tiered pricing system which gave Canadian dairy farmers an unfair advantage. “They called that Class 7. This agreement got rid of and eliminated Class 7 and Class 6 milk, which we felt like was always an unfair manipulation of the previous agreement,” Secretary Perdue stated.
The USMCA will also institute more fairness in the wine market in Canada. “If they were California wines, they were put behind a separate, locked engagement and you had to be checked-out in a different way, which was very discriminatory in how our U.S. products were displayed and allowed to be purchased versus the Canadian products. That will be disappearing as well,” said Secretary Perdue.
Having visited several different areas of California multiple times now Secretary Perdue expressed his admiration for how much the state has to offer to the agricultural industry as a whole. “I never fail to be impressed with the scale of California agriculture. Most people in American have no idea.”
Finalizing the terms of the USMCA is a significant development, especially when considering the instability of other American export markets. Secretary Perdue noted his optimism that the latest trade agreement can provide a pathway for other arrangements to follow suit in areas such as Japan and the European Union. “I think it does set a model or template, and also creates momentum…we’ve put KORUS in the bag, we’ve got Canada and Mexico, now we’re looking for more.”
Listen to Perdue’s full interview with AgNet West’s Danielle Leal.