The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly passed the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA). Following the vote, the agriculture industry praised the House and urged the Senate to take action on the trade deal.
“I’ve long said that support for USMCA crosses political parties, the bipartisan passage of the agreement today is proof of that,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, in a prepared statement. “I am pleased the House finally brought this agreement to a vote and encourage quick passage in the Senate. President Trump delivered on his promise to replace NAFTA, and USMCA is a huge success for America’s farmers and ranchers. 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.”
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in his statement that bipartisan House passage of the USMCA shows that President Donald Trump is changing trade policy so it “works for the benefit of American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses.”
“The USMCA is expected to create between 176,000 and 589,000 new American jobs and substantially increase economic growth,” Lighthizer said. “The International Trade Commission’s analysis shows that USMCA will have a more positive impact on our economy, jobs and wages than any other U.S. trade agreement ever negotiated.”
Corn farmers have been working toward this vote for nearly a year, sending emails, having meetings and making phone calls to their representatives in support of USMCA, according to Kevin Ross president of the National Corn Growers Association.
“Agriculture should be incredibly proud to see these efforts pay off with such a strong, bipartisan vote,” he said, in a statement. “We wouldn’t be at this stage in the ratification process without the hard work of individual farmers across the country.”
Similarly, dairy industry leaders praised lawmakers for providing more market access in Mexico.
“USMCA will bring tangible benefits to the U.S. dairy industry by upgrading trade rules, opening the Canadian market to U.S. dairy exports and preserving our valuable market access in Mexico,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC). “Today’s bipartisan vote is indicative of the need to immediately secure these benefits for dairy and all of agriculture.”
Some pushed for the Senate to act quickly.
“Today’s vote brings us one step closer to finalizing USMCA and securing a more certain future for America’s farmers and ranchers,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). “It is imperative that the Senate act now to finalize USMCA.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Jennifer Houston also urged Senate action.
"Today was a crucial win for all U.S. beef producers and a reassurance that U.S. beef will continue to have duty-free access to Canada and Mexico," said Houston, in a prepared statement. "A big thank-you goes to the Trump Administration and every lawmaker who voted to approve USMCA. Of course, there is still more work left to do, so I urge the Senate to swiftly pass the USMCA and send it to the President's desk."
U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) said ratification of USMCA is an important step in solidifying trade relations with Mexico and Canada, which are critical destinations for U.S. pork, beef and lamb.
“This agreement will bolster the United States' position as a reliable supplier to two leading markets that currently account for about one-third of all U.S. red meat exports,” the organization said, in a statement. “We look forward to the Senate taking up this legislation as soon as possible and completing the ratification process.”
Agriculture retailers also praised the vote.
“There is no doubt the House passage of USMCA is a win for America's farmers, agribusinesses and the communities they serve,” said Daren Coppock, Ag Retailers Association president and CEO. "This historic trade agreement will benefit agricultural retailers and their farmer customers by expanding market access and preserving zero-tariff platforms among ag products. The agreement is expected to increase ag exports and gross domestic product at a time when the ag economy sorely needs a boost.”