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Ag industry urges Congress to pass USMCA

Ag industry urges Congress to pass USMCA

Farm groups and politicians want the trilateral agreement passed sooner than later

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Ag industry representatives are pressing Congress to pass a critical piece of trade legislation.

U.S. President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto put their signatures on the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) in November 2018.

Since then, only Mexico has ratified the agreement. Canada has maintained that its ratification process will progress as the American process does.

America must ratify the agreement to ensure that U.S. farmers benefit from the market access and other provisions set out in the trade pact, said Jordan Dux, the director of national affairs with the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation.

“It’s not just the new things that are in there, and it does have some new things. It updates a 25-year-old trade agreement (and) offers some new markets for dairy, for poultry (and) for wheat producers,” he told KRVN. “But more importantly, from our standpoint, is that it preserves the market access that farmers and ranchers have enjoyed with NAFTA for the past 25 years.”

Passing the USMCA would also show potential trade partners that the U.S. can negotiate and ratify trade deals, Dux said.

An equipment organization is calling for Congress to pass the USMCA too.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers is planning to run ads on social media and other digital channels in Democratic congressional districts to show support for the deal.

“If elected officials support the U.S. manufacturing, they must support the USMCA,” the ads say.

A ratified USMCA could have a significant effect on farmers’ bottom lines.

“I was up in northwest Iowa a couple weeks ago visiting with one corn farmer and he said that if we were able to get the USMCA deal done, it would have a direct, positive impact on his farm,” Republican Iowa Senator Joni Ernst said on the Senate floor Thursday.

Democrats also want the trilateral trade agreement passed.

“We’ve got folks relying on that, including my agriculture community in my district and across Iowa that is feeling the pain from everything happening with this administration of biofuels, and the trade war,” said Democratic Congresswoman Cindy Axne. “If we can get this done, we can limit some of the volatility in the market. That will help us maintain our sales, and give our farmers an opportunity to start planning and moving forward.”

Republicans have accused the Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, of stalling the ratification process because of the upcoming presidential election.

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