Tag Archives: USMCA

WOOD RIVER, NEB. – It’s time for Congress to pass legislation to enact the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) and bring home a “win” for Nebraska agriculture. That’s the message relayed by Nebraska leaders who gathered to call for USMCA passage at Husker Harvest Days, Wed., Sept. 11. The Trump administration has negotiated a trade deal with the two countries, but Congress must act for the provisions of the agreement to go into effect.

The USMCA deal is critical to Nebraska agriculture as purchases by Mexico and Canada account for more than 21 percent of Nebraska’s total agriculture exports. The trade relationship with the two countries is also vital to the state’s economy as agriculture trade with the two nations supports nearly 54,000 Nebraska jobs.

The USMCA would replace the more than 20-year-old, North American Free Trade Agreement between the countries, making a good relationship even better. The new deal would maintain market access for Nebraska commodities like corn, soybeans, beef, and pork, while improving access for Nebraska wheat and dairy products. The deal also updates the former agreement to address agriculture biotechnology to support innovation and reduce trade-distorting policies. In addition, USMCA creates a more rigorous process for establishing trade distorting geological indicators for agriculture products and strengthens science-based measures to protect human, animal, and plant health while improving the flow of trade.

With members of Congress returning from the August recess, the Nebraska leaders urged swift action to secure the USMCA deal.

Quotes

“A combination of flooding, low commodity prices, and trade negotiations have made for a very tough time for agriculture recently. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is critical for our country and growing key trade relationships. Now it’s time for Congress to step up and do their part by approving the USMCA.”

  • Governor Pete Ricketts

 

“USMCA passage is not only important because of the immediate and direct benefits it will bring to our state’s farmers and ranchers, but with the climate we’re operating in today, we need to show the rest of the world that the United States is open for business and we’re serious about getting deals done with our trade partners. The success of Nebraska agriculture relies heavily on our ability to reach the international customers who want to buy Nebraska agriculture products; and there are plenty of them around the world.”

  • Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president

 

 

“Mexico and Canada are key partners with Nebraska’s corn industry. Mexico is our top customer of Nebraska corn and Canada is our second largest export market for ethanol. Once distillers grains, livestock and other agricultural commodities start getting added into the mix, it’s easy to see why USMCA is so important to Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.”

  • Dan Nerud, Nebraska Corn Growers Association president

“USMCA is poised to bring improvements to the North American dairy trade by expanding exports and bringing down trade barriers, benefiting America’s dairy farmers and processors. Mexico and Canada are the dairy industry’s number one and number two largest volume international exporters, with Mexico taking 25 percent of all of the United States dairy exports.  USMCA enables the Nebraska dairy industry to continue to export ice cream and butter into those markets, generating more demand and higher pay price for our milk here at home.”

  • Bob Larson, Nebraska State Dairy Association, board of directors

“Mexico is one of the largest purchasers of both US and Nebraska wheat. A fully implemented USMCA would greatly benefit our state’s wheat farmers.”

  • Von Johnson, Nebraska Wheat Board, board of directors

“In today’s trade environment the passage of the USMCA is of great importance. With trade equalization moving forward with Japan and other booming markets around the world the passage of USMCA would increase the momentum to trade with other countries and boost all sectors of our agricultural economy.”

  • Tim Chancellor, Nebraska Pork Producers Association

 

 

“USMCA will benefit U.S. and Nebraska soybean growers as well as the larger U.S. agriculture and food industry.  Over the last 25 years, U.S. food and ag exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled under NAFTA.  Mexico is the number two buyer of Nebraska soybeans and soybean products.”

  • Robert Johnston, Nebraska Soybean Association, president

“Nebraska’s cattle producers have weathered their fair share of storms this past year. Now is NOT the time to pull the rug from under the feet of our state’s largest industry. If access to these top markets were suddenly shut off, our red meat exports would drastically decline. This would pose serious consequences for Nebraska’s economy. We urge Congress to act quickly and get USMCA across the finish line.”

  • Mike Drinnin, Nebraska Cattlemen president

“USMCA reinvigorates and modernizes the trade relationships with our neighbors in Canada and Mexico. The agreement also provides critical updates that benefit growers all across the agricultural spectrum. The Nebraska Sorghum Producers Association urges congress to move swiftly forward in passing the USMCA.”

  • Nate Blum, Nebraska Grain Sorghum

“Nebraska’s own Clayton Yeutter was instrumental in opening up trade with our neighbor Canada when he served as U.S. Trade Representative in the 1980s. I’m proud that our Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at UNL helps educate students and the public about the importance of trade. In 2017, Nebraska ag exports totaled $6.4 billion and translated into $8.14 billion in additional economic activity. Opening up access to our agricultural products is vital to Nebraska’s future.”

  • Ronnie Green, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor

U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue said Tuesday that the split Congress has the votes to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement.

“It would give us a great step forward,” Donohue told CNBC, adding that Congress has “enough votes to do it right now.”

Donohue told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on July 25 that the USMCA would be “fixed by the September timeframe” and would have Democrats on board.

“There’s very good spirit between the people that are doing it because this is an unbelievable agreement,” Donohue said, adding that “it’s $4 billion a day of trade between the United States and Canada and Mexico – they are our largest trading partners.”

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse is also putting pressure on Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

A few weeks earlier, White House adviser Marc Short told FOX Business that he is optimistic the deal will come together.

“We think that it has the votes,” Short told Maria Bartiromo on July 11. “The reality is that there are 31 congressional Democrats residing in districts that Donald Trump won in 2016. But more importantly, those are districts that create an enormous number of manufacturing jobs in the auto industry or agriculture jobs because we’ve now provided … additional access to dairy farms in Wisconsin, in Minnesota.”

Both chambers of Congress will be back in session in September after the August recess.

Ironically, Mexico ratified the deal in June, while the U.S. Congress has not passed the agreement that President Trump has often touted.

“It means foreign investment in Mexico, it means jobs in Mexico, it means guaranteeing trade of the merchandise that we produce in the United States,” Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said at the time of ratification.

Meanwhile, the Missouri Farm Bureau published a video of farmers touting the USMCA to the tune of the hit song “YMCA” on Aug. 30.

“Nancy, we know you’re the woman who can get this deal through Congress,” the farmers chant.

Lincoln, NE -U.S. Senator Ben Sasse issued the following statement regarding news that Rep. Rosa DeLauro, one of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top trade negotiators, said that consideration of the USMCA trade agreement:

“Our farmers and ranchers are bleeding. Speaker Pelosi’s key trade negotiator just said that approving the USMCA treaty is probably going to ‘seep into next year.’ It’s easy to say that in Connecticut or San Francisco — they ought to come to Nebraska and look our farmers and ranchers in the eye. This isn’t political to a lot of moms and dads who are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Madame Speaker, schedule the vote.”

Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), testified before the Senate Finance Committee and urged Congress to swiftly ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

In addition to locking in a zero-tariff relationship with Mexico and increasing market access to Canada, USMCA also reforms Canadian pricing practices and addresses other nontariff barriers, like geographic indication requirements, that threaten U.S. sales. All told, USMCA will provide a $314 million-a-year boost to the dairy industry, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission.

“Speaker Pelosi and Ambassador Lighthizer are working closely together to address any outstanding concerns surrounding the implementation of USMCA,” he added. “I encourage the Senate to play a constructive role in these talks in order to produce a final agreement that can be quickly passed and signed.”

A group of 14 Democrats sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi urging her to bring a vote by the end of the year on USMCA. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has reportedly told colleagues that Speaker Pelosi has committed to a vote on the revised NAFTA trade deal by October, according to Axios and as reported by Jim Wiesemeyer, Pro Farmer’s Washington analyst. Speaker Pelosi denies that commitment. The Trump administration, Axios reported, asked Pelosi to allow a vote on the USMCA as a side agreement to the budget deal, but she refused to put anything in writing.

In June, USDEC and 34 of its members signed a letter alongside nearly 1,000 farm organizations and rural businesses asking Congress to approve USMCA. One of those organizations, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), echoed support for Vilsack’s comments and urgency to bring USMCA to a vote.

“As Secretary Vilsack testified, USMCA delivers key wins for America’s dairy farmers and the exports that drive stronger sales. With USMCA, dairy farmers will see more export opportunities and greater trade certainty. Without USMCA, we lose out on $314 million in additional dairy exports. We also lose the benefit of the new rules this deal puts in place, such as key reforms to Canada’s dairy system and stronger safeguards for our cheese exports to Mexico,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF President and CEO in a statement.

“We commend the Senate for spotlighting USMCA’s importance and strongly support the testimony offered by USDEC on how the agreement benefits dairy. To usher in USMCA’s improvements for dairy farmers and build momentum for additional trade agreements with key markets like Japan, we urge swift action to resolve any outstanding issues and secure approval of USMCA.”