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U.S. ag sector celebrates USMCA signing

U.S. ag sector celebrates USMCA signing

American producers gain access to Canada’s dairy market and other trade benefits

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The American ag industry is pleased a trilateral agreement with two major trading partners is one step closer to completion.

U.S., Canadian and Mexican officials signed a revised version of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) during a ceremony in Mexico City on Tuesday.

“The results (of the trade negotiations), I think, is the best trade agreement in history,” Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, said during the signing ceremony. “I think it’s going it’s going to do the most for manufacturing in this region (and) it’s going to do the most for farmers in this region…”

Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Jesus Seade, Mexico’s undersecretary for North America, signed the deal for their respective countries.

Multiple U.S. ag sectors will benefit from the agreement once each country ratifies it.

Wheat farmers, for example, will receive fair quality gradings.

Once the USMCA comes into effect, U.S. wheat will no longer require a country-of-origin statement on its quality grade or an inspection certificate when entering Canada. Rather, U.S. wheat will be graded on the same scale as Canadian wheat.

“In addition, if U.S. farmers want to deliver wheat across the border to a Canadian elevator, and that wheat is on Canada’s varietal registration list, under USMCA it will not be downgraded,” Doug Goyings, chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates, said in a statement Tuesday. Previously, all U.S. wheat entering Canada automatically received a feed grade.

The U.S. dairy sector will also benefit from the USMCA.

American dairy farmers will receive access to almost 4 percent of Canada’s supply-managed dairy market. Additionally, Canada will eliminate milk classes 6 and 7, which the Canadian Dairy Commission created to help domestic producers market different types of protein.

“USMCA will expand trade opportunities with our most valuable partners and secure immediate benefits for our rural communities, adding an estimated $548 million to dairy-farm revenues in its first six years after implementation,” Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, said in a Tuesday statement.

American turkey producers will gain more access to the Canadian market as well.

The trade agreement mandates that Canada provide the U.S. and other World Trade Organization members “access equivalent to no less than 3.5 percent of the previous year’s total Canadian turkey production.”

Altogether, the USMCA provides benefits to U.S. agriculture that the previous NAFTA agreement didn’t offer, officials said.

“The agreement improves virtually every component of the old NAFTA, and the agriculture industry stands to gain significantly,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement Tuesday. has reached out to U.S. farmers for comment.

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