Ag News

USMCA nears finish line in U.S. House, will wait in Senate

The U.S. House of Representatives appeared set to vote on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) as soon as Dec. 19, and the deal is expected to pass. USMCA will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Once the House passes the pact, it will move to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it would be put on hold until after the Senate completes  the impeachment trial for President Donald Trump.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the USMCA is expected to increase U.S. ag exports by $2 billion and result in a $65 billion increase in gross domestic product.

The agreement will provide new market access for American dairy and poultry products while preserving the zero-tariff platform on all other ag products.

In particular, the agreement gives U.S. dairy products access to an additional 3.6% of Canada’s dairy market – even better than what was proposed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

U.S. wheat will receive fairer treatment, thanks to Canada’s agreement to grade U.S.-grown wheat no less favorably than its own.

Mexico and the United States have also agreed that all grading standards for ag products will be non-discriminatory.

Additional provisions enhance science-based trading standards among the three nations as the basis for sanitary and phytosanitary measures for ag products, as well as progress in the area of geographic indications.

The agreement also includes measures that address cooperation, information sharing and other trade rules among the three nations related to agricultural biotechnology and gene editing.

“Ratification of the USMCA would build on the momentum of the U.S.-Japan agreement, which gave a major boost to American agricultural products in our fourth-largest market, and send a signal that the U.S. is back in business in the international marketplace,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall.