It may not be NAFTA, but a trade agreement has been reached. The United States, Mexico and Canada have finally reached a trade agreement. The new agreement addresses concerns about potential U.S. auto tariffs. USMCA opens up many possibilities for trade among the countries. There has been a diverse range of reactions to this new agreement across the agriculture industry.
Praise from NPPC and NAMI
National Pork Producers Council voiced their praise for the new agreement. They praised the Trump administration for establishing a free trade agreement which preserves zero-tariff access for U.S. pork to Mexico and Canada.
“We thank the administration for its diligent work to complete recent agreements that maintain zero-tariff access to three of U.S. pork’s top five markets,” says Jim Heimerl, NPPC president and a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “The three-way pact with Mexico and Canada, our largest and fourth largest export markets, respectively, and the recently signed agreement with Korea represent welcome momentum during what has been a challenging year.”
Heimerl said they urge Congress to quickly ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. U.S. pork is currently on three trade retaliation lists that placed 40% of total exports under punitive tariffs. NPPC continues to advocate for the removal of tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum imports. They are hopeful Mexico will, in turn, lift its 20% retaliatory pork tariff.
NPPC wasn’t the only group who voiced their praise for USMCA. The North American Meat Institute also applauded the Trump administration’s success at modernizing an agreement. Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts said the agreement safeguards the core tenets of NAFTA that have strengthened the U.S. meat sector and overall economy.
USMCA in, retaliatory tariffs not out
Even though an agreement was reached, retaliatory tariffs imposed by Mexico and Canada remain in place.
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said, “There are problems specific to steel and aluminum relating to our national defense, and at this point of time, those stay the same.”
The gains from USMCA for U.S. agriculture will not offset the losses as tariffs remain.
U.S. Meat Export Federation President Dan Halstrom says, “While [USMCA] is very positive news for the U.S. red meat industry, it is important to note that the retaliatory duties imposed by Mexico on U.S. pork and by Canada on U.S. prepared/cooked beef products industry remain in place.”
USMEF estimated these tariffs on U.S. pork would cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars. Though the future looks bright with USMCA, those losses cannot be overlooked.
Growers Applaud USMCA
The National Grain and Feed Association and North American Export Grain Association commended the Trump administration for reaching a new trade agreement.
“Given the integrated nature of the North American economy, including within the food and agricultural sector, it was extremely important to reach a trade agreement that included all three countries,” said NGFA President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Gordon and NAEGA President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Martin.
The groups feel this announcement signifies a large, positive step in modernizing and further enhancing North American food and agricultural commerce. They feel it will continue to bolster economic growth and food security.
NGFA and NAEGA said they look forward to working with all three governments as part of the review and ensuing implementation of the agreement.
Growers Look to Future
The groups also expressed their satisfaction with some of the efforts outlined in the agreement. These efforts look to preserve and enhance current trade terms in North America.
According to Ag Update, the efforts include:
- the retention of zero tariffs on agricultural products traded between the United States and Mexico
- addition of 21st century language to enhance information exchange and cooperation on agricultural biotechnology trade-related matters
- an agreement to strengthen disciplines for science-based sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures to facilitate trade
- an agreement that grading standards and services on agricultural products, including grains and oilseeds, will operate independently from domestic registration systems for grain and oilseed varieties
The NGFA and NAEGA said they look forward to providing further analysis and input of the agreement. They hope to fully participate in the process as the next phase of forwarding the new agreement to the legislative bodies in each country begins. The associations also hope to build on the success of USMCA by supporting U.S. trade initiatives with Japan, China, the European Union and other markets.
Related Ag Nook Story: “USMCA Deal Falls Flat for Some”
Many emotions surround the new trade agreement. Though the future appears to bright, we can’t forget about the losses we are still overcoming. NPPC praises the Trump administration for the progress they have made thus far. Additionally, corn and grain growers expressed their gratitude to the Trump Administration. NGFA and NAEGA spoke highly of the agreement. Both groups hope to continue aiding in the efforts of the agreement as it moves forward. Many hope this agreement will be a positive step. Furthermore, many hope it will lead to more U.S. trade initiatives with other countries.
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