The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) continues forward progress with the House of Representatives passing the trade deal by a large margin. The USMCA vote was 385 to 41 in favor of moving the legislation closer to ratification by the Senate. Several agricultural groups have issued statements of support and appreciation for moving the agreement through Congress.
“The USMCA will provide continuity in the growth of the North American market and will strengthen our trading relationships with Canada and Mexico, which are our number-one and number-two export markets, respectively,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a press release. “We are hopeful that USMCA can be a model for future U.S. trade agreements, as these modernized rules will be a strong guide for addressing continuing issues. We urge the Senate to quickly approve the USMCA.”
The agreement specifically addresses agricultural biotechnology and will expand market opportunities for dairy products, chicken, turkey, and eggs in Canada. The trade deal will also eliminate Canada’s wheat grading system, which will allow U.S. producers to be more competitive. “NAWG applauds those Members of Congress for their support and hard work to advance this critical trade deal one step closer to the finish line. We encourage the Senate to follow its lead and pass this deal early in the new year,” said Ben Scholz, President of the National Association of Wheat Growers.
USMCA is projected to increase American agricultural exports by $2 billion, which is expected to result in a $65 billion increase in overall gross domestic product. The export markets in Canada and Mexico totaled more than $39.7 billion in food and agricultural exports in 2018. There has been a tremendous amount of support for USMCA, with nearly 1,000 food and agriculture groups, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and all former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture from the previous 30 years issuing various calls for ratification.
“I’ve long said that support for USMCA crosses political parties, the bipartisan passage of the agreement today is proof of that,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a news release. “This agreement will unleash the bounty of America’s agricultural harvest to two of our largest trading partners in the world and it is critical to the success of rural America.”
The Senate is expected to address the trade deal in early 2020, however, there is some concern that the USMCA vote may be delayed by the impeachment process for President Donald Trump.