WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — More than 950 U.S. agriculture and food organizations sent a letter to Congress asking the government body to quickly approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The letter reiterated that USMCA will benefit the U.S. agriculture and food industry while providing consumers an abundant supply of safe, high-quality human and animal food at competitive prices. The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) and nearly 200 farmer co-ops and cooperatively-owned Farm Credit Associations joined with the food and agriculture associations asking for swift ratification.

“This trade accord improves market access for several U.S. agricultural products and contains significant improvements that will facilitate more seamless cross-border trade, particularly between the United States and Mexico,” said Randy Gordon, president and chief executive officer of the National Grain and Feed Association. “Specifically, for the grain and oilseed sector, the accord contains provisions that will facilitate more timely resolution of sanitary and phytosanitary issues that may arise in cross-border shipments, and will do so in a science-based manner in accordance with World Trade Organization protocols and existing international conventions. Further, the agricultural biotechnology provisions will encourage regulatory coherence among all three countries.”

Ag co-ops and their farmer owners have seen tremendous benefits from increasing exports to Canada and Mexico, said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the NCFC.

“These relationships have provided producers with markets for their products, helped grow rural economies and employed hundreds of thousands of Americans far beyond the farm gate,” he said. “USMCA builds on and updates this success.” 

Gordon said speedy ratification is essential if the United States wants to be viewed as a reliable partner in negotiating other trade agreements with other countries, such as Japan.

Over the last 25 years, U.S. food and agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled under USMCA’s predecessor — the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) — growing to $40 billion in 2018 from $9 billion in 1993.

The International Trade Commission’s recent independent report on USMCA confirmed that the agreement will improve market access for U.S. farmers, ranchers, food producers and agribusinesses, as well as positively affect both the U.S. agriculture sector and the broader national economy.