Agriculture, Perdue Reacts to USMCA Senate Passage

Those across the agriculture spectrum offered applause to lawmakers in the Senate who overwhelming supported approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on Thursday, 89-10.

National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Ross says the vote ensures “corn farmers will continue to have access to our largest and most reliable markets.” Mexico is a top destination for U.S. corn.

Bill Gordon of the American Soybean Association says the vote “means we can start 2020 on a more positive note.” Mexico is the number two market for whole beans, meal and oil, and Canada is a top ten buyer of meal and oil.

U.S. Meat Export Federation CEO Dan Halstrom says the vote “bolsters our position as a reliable supplier to two leading markets that account for about one-third of all U.S. red meat exports.” Meat shipments to Mexico and Canada in 2019 totaled about 1.25 million metric tons valued at $3.8 billion.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says USMCA “comes at a critical time for farmers and ranchers, increasing optimism that we’ll turn the corner in 2020.”

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue added his praises, saying farmers “are eager to see the President sign this legislation and begin reaping the benefits.”

Under the agreement, all food and agricultural products that have zero tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement will remain at zero tariffs. Since the original NAFTA did not eliminate all tariffs on agricultural trade between the United States and Canada, the USMCA will create new market access opportunities for United States exports to Canada of dairy, poultry, and eggs, and in exchange, the United States will provide new access to Canada for some dairy, peanut, and a limited amount of sugar and sugar-containing products.

The agreement specifically addresses agricultural biotechnology, including new technologies such as gene editing, to support innovation and reduce trade-distorting policies, and the agreement institutes a more rigorous process for establishing geographical indicators.

Canada and Mexico are the first and second-largest export markets for United States agricultural products, totaling more than $39.7 billion in food and agricultural exports in 2018.