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U.S. Senate approves USMCA

U.S. Senate approves USMCA

The bill moves to President Trump’s desk for his signature

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

A trilateral trade deal with significant implications for U.S. farmers has received Senate approval and has moved to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

Yesterday, U.S. senators voted 89-10 in favor of H.R.5430, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act.

Once the president signs the bill, Canada will be the last country to ratify the agreement. Mexico’s government signed off on the agreement in December.

The U.S. ag industry celebrated the bill’s passing as Canada and Mexico represent America’s top two ag export markets. Those two countries imported about US$40 billion of U.S. farm products in 2018.

“This trade agreement comes at a critical time for farmers and ranchers, increasing optimism that we’ll turn the corner in 2020,” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said in a statement Thursday. “USMCA is an important step toward restoring the competitiveness of America’s farmers and ranchers, strengthening our trade relationships in North America and setting an example for agreements with other important trading partners.”

Individual American ag sectors are set to benefit from the USMCA.

When selling wheat to Canada, U.S. wheat producers will have their crops graded on the same plane as Canadian wheat. Previously, all U.S. wheat received a feed grade.

And USMCA retains tariff-free access for U.S. wheat exported to Mexico.

“Trade deals can put the price of wheat back on track for many growers and create new opportunities,” Ben Scholz, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers, said in a statement Thursday.

USMCA also supports American dairy producers.

Canada has agreed to increase its imports of U.S. dairy and eliminate a milk-pricing program that put U.S. farmers at a disadvantage.

With the expanded access, imports of U.S. dairy could increase by US$227 million annually, the U.S. International Trade Commission said.

"USMCA makes important strides to break down trade barriers, opening the door to new opportunities and supporting the flow of high-quality American dairy products to two valuable export markets," Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, said in a release.

American poultry and egg farmers will benefit from the USMCA too.

Canada has agreed to increase its U.S. chicken imports from 47,000 million tons to 57,000 million tons, and increase egg and egg product imports from 1.67 million to 10 million dozen eggs and equivalent products by the deal’s sixth year.

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