WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — U.S. President Donald Trump signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement on Jan. 29.
“The USMCA is the largest, most significant, modern and balanced trade agreement in history,” Trump said. “All of our countries will benefit greatly.”
The United States, Mexico and Canada concluded negotiations for a new trade agreement in September 2018 and the U.S. Senate Jan. 16, 2020 and the U.S. House on Dec. 19, 2019.
Under the USMCA, all food and agriculture products that have had zero tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will continue to enjoy zero tariff access to the partner nations’ markets.
“Today is a good day for American agriculture,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “Throughout this process, there were many detractors who said it couldn’t be done. But this is further proof that President Trump’s trade negotiation strategy is working. This agreement shows the rest of the world the United States is open for business. USMCA is critical for America’s farmers and ranchers, who will now have even more market access to our neighbors to the north and the south. I am excited to see the economic benefits of this agreement increase the prosperity of all Americans, especially those living in rural America.”
The U.S. ag industry applauded the USMCA being signed into law.
“We have advocated for a revised agreement that preserves our duty-free market access; addresses modern issues, such as sanitary and phytosanitary issues; and implements science-based regulations and regulatory cooperation and coherence,” said Constance Cullman, president and chief executive officer of the American Feed Industry Association. “These issues are of vital importance to our members and paramount to maintaining and enhancing the trade relationship our industry has with its two largest trading partners. We look forward to Canada ratifying the agreement in the near future and stand ready to participate in its implementation.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Canada and Mexico are the United States’ first and second largest export markets for food and agricultural products, totaling more than $39.7 billion in food and agricultural exports in 2018. These exports support more than 325,000 U.S. jobs.
“NAMA applauds the ratification of the new North American trade pact,” said Jim McCarthy, president and CEO of NAMA. “USMCA has been a top legislative priority for NAMA, and we are delighted to see this significant bipartisan accomplishment come to fruition. USMCA will benefit millers, farmers and consumers, and we look forward to working with our members and allied food and agriculture industry organizations to ensure the timely implementation of the trade deal. This improved trade deal with Canada and Mexico provides reassurance for millers and the broader U.S. food and agricultural industries.”
The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) are looking forward to the stability the trade agreement brings.
“USMCA will bring some guarantee to the unpredictable climate of farming,” said Ben Scholz, president of NAWG. “Trade deals create markets that provide stability for growers, making the profession more attractive to future generations. NAWG would like to thank the administration again for working to get this agreement finalized.”
Doug Goyings, chairman of USW, said, “Wheat farmers and Mexico’s wheat buyers are very glad to see the cloud of uncertainty lifted from our trade relationship. Replacing NAFTA without harm to the wheat trade relationship was a priority for all of us — mission accomplished.”
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), counted the signing as a “win” for U.S. agriculture and encouraged by new market opportunities.
“This is a big win for America’s farmers, our rural communities and the American economy,” said Kevin Ross, president of the NCGA. “USMCA builds on our already successful trading partnership with Mexico and Canada. This agreement should serve as a template for opening the door to new market opportunities for U.S. corn. Corn farmers are grateful for the hard work done by the president, the U.S. trade representative and everyone in the administration who made today’s signing possible.”
Both the United States and Mexico have signed USMCA into law and for the final implementation Canada now needs to sign it as well.