The Montana and American Farm Bureaus are commending the U.S. House of Representatives for approving the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. It was a bipartisan effort as shown by the overwhelming 385 to 41 vote. The agreement is expected to increase U.S. ag exports by $2 billion and result in a $65 billion increase in gross domestic product.
“We truly appreciate the Congressmen who came together regardless of political party to pass the USMCA,” said MFBF President Hans McPherson. “It was especially exciting that I was in D.C. this week for the American Farm Bureau board meeting. We’ve been working closely with members of Congress to ensure this essential agreement passed. We thank Representative Greg Gianforte for his support. The USMCA is good for Montana agriculture and takes care of the concerns previously expressed. Even though news outlets would have you believe that nothing is being done in Congress, when you’re in D.C., you realize our elected officials are not idle as they work to wrap up 2019.”
AFBF President Zippy Duvall said, “This trade agreement could not come at a more critical time for U.S. agriculture. Farmers and ranchers have been hit with a perfect storm of low commodity prices, weather disasters, trade disruptions and a severe downturn in the farm economy. 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.”
Duvall added, “We are hopeful that USMCA can be a model for future U.S. trade agreements, as these modernized rules will be a strong guide for addressing continuing issues. We urge the Senate to quickly approve the USMCA.”
Designed to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, the USMCA builds on important trade relationships in North America.
• The agreement will provide new market access for American dairy and poultry products while preserving the zero-tariff platform on all other ag products.
• In particular, the agreement gives U.S. dairy products access to an additional 3.6% of Canada’s dairy market – even better than what was proposed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
• U.S. wheat will receive fairer treatment, thanks to Canada’s agreement to grade our wheat no less favorably than its own.
• Mexico and the United States have also agreed that all grading standards for ag products will be non-discriminatory.
• Additional provisions enhance science-based trading standards among the three nations as the basis for sanitary and phytosanitary measures for ag products, as well as progress in the area of geographic indications.
• The agreement also includes measures that address cooperation, information sharing and other trade rules among the three nations related to agricultural biotechnology and gene editing.