A collation of U.S. food and agriculture associations and companies addressed a letter to Congress seeking quick ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The letter was sent on June 11 by more than 960 groups representing the U.S. food and agriculture value chain at the national, state and local.
An excerpt of the letter says:
“Over the last 25 years, U.S. food and agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled under NAFTA – growing from $9 billion in 1993 to nearly $40 billion in 2018. NAFTA has significantly helped create a reliable, high-quality supply of food products for U.S. consumers, while supporting more than 900,000 American jobs in food and agriculture and related sectors of the economy. USMCA builds on the success of the NAFTA agreement, and will ultimately lead to freer markets and fairer trade. This modernized trade agreement makes improvements to further enhance U.S. food and agricultural exports to our neighbors and would deliver an additional $2.2 billion in U.S. economic activity.”
The letter was signed by a number of national groups representing farmers and ranchers, including:
- American Farm Bureau Federation
- American Soybean Association
- National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
- National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
- National Cotton Council
- National Corn Growers Association
- National Milk Producers Federation
- National Pork Producers Council
- National Sorghum Producers
Also signing the letter were food processing companies, along with state and local agriculture associations.
Discussions in Congress
A hearing was held by the House Agriculture Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee the same day the letter was sent. The subcommittee was reviewing the state of U.S. agricultural products in international markets and following the hearing Subcommittee Ranking Member David Rouzer (R-NC) and Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) both expressed the importance of getting USMCA passed.
“USMCA is a no-brainer for American agriculture. If the International Trade Commission’s (ITC) estimated $2.2 billion increase in ag exports doesn’t convince my colleagues, then all they need to do is talk to a local farmer or rancher. American producers have made it clear: the best thing we can do for our lagging agriculture economy is get this deal done. I urge my colleagues on the committee to join me in calling for Speaker Pelosi to bring USMCA to a vote in the House as soon as possible,” says Rep. Rouzer.
“Rather than spew platitudes about the importance of free trade to American agriculture, it’s time for the House Democratic Leadership to get serious about the clear win that sits before them – the USMCA agreement. Today’s hearing further underscored that ratifying USMCA is critically important to America’s farmers, ranchers, and dairymen. With the ITC report in hand, Speaker Pelosi should bring USMCA up for a vote as quickly as possible,” says Rep. Conaway.
Dairy Voicing Concerns
The dairy industry had already pushed for swift passage of USMCA just a day prior, on June 10, when three national dairy groups, including the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), sent a similar letter to members of the House of Representatives. IDFA released a statement regarding the latest letter expressing the importance of USMCA because of fixes to current trade policies with Canada and Mexico.
“USMCA meets the U.S. dairy industry’s top priorities to ensure a more level playing field, including preserving duty-free market access to Mexico, eliminating the unfair Canadian Class 7 pricing program and increasing market access to the Canadian market,” says Michael Dykes, DVM, president and CEO of IDFA. “The U.S. dairy industry, which supports more than 3 million jobs in the United States and pumps $620 billion into the U.S. economy, is making a strong appeal to Congress to vote to ratify this important trade deal. USMCA will ensure that our dairy industry grows valuable market share and continues to be viewed by our North American customers as a reliable supplier.”
USMCA is currently awaiting ratification from both the House and Senate. Rep. Ron Estes (R-KS) tells Farm Journal that ideally Congress will be wrapped up by August with USMCA.
For more on USMCA read the following articles:
- Dairy Groups Seeks Congress' Aid to Pass U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement
- Mexico Moves Forward on Key USMCA Provision
- Lawmakers Push For USMCA Passage
- Ag Groups Stress Importance of USMCA
- USMCA Worth Millions in Ag Exports
- With the New USMCA, What Will Happen To NAFTA?
- Trump Weighs Canceling NAFTA to Push USMCA Approval Through Congress
- USMCA Praised By U.S. Dairy Groups; Trade Deal Criticized by Canadians
- BREAKING NEWS: New USMCA Signed
- USMCA Signing in Sight, Questions Remain