The bill still needs Senate approval and President Trump’s signature
By Diego Flammini
The trade deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement is closer to U.S. ratification.
The House of Representatives passed the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) yesterday by a vote of 385 to 41.
The bill just needs Senate approval and President Trump’s signature to become law.
U.S. farm groups are optimistic about what the trilateral agreement means for the industry.
Overall, the trade pact could increase U.S. ag exports by about US$2 billion annually.
“The USMCA will provide continuity in the growth of the North American market and will strengthen our trading relationships with Canada and Mexico, which are our number-one and number-two export markets, respectively,” Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said in a statement on Thursday.
Multiple American ag sectors will benefit from the USMCA once it’s fully implemented.
American dairy producers, for example, will receive access to 3.6 percent of Canada’s supply-managed dairy market. USMCA also preserves duty-free access for U.S. dairy products in Mexico.
The House vote “is indicative of the need to immediately secure these benefits for dairy and all of agriculture,” Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, said in a statement Thursday.
USMCA is also advantageous for U.S. wheat growers exporting products to Canada
Canada will eliminate its discriminatory wheat grading system and grade U.S. wheat on a level playing field.
“Agriculture desperately needed a win for economic recovery, and passing the USMCA was that win,” Ben Scholz, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers, said in a Thursday statement. “We encourage the Senate to follow (the House’s) lead and pass this deal early in the new year.”
Mexico has already ratified the trade agreement, and Canada is expected to vote on the USMCA in its House of Commons in the new year.
Farms.com has reached out to ag policy specialists for comment.