Bipartisan vote finalizes a two-year effort to nail down trade with two of America’s leading markets for red meat.

Burt Rutherford, Senior Editor

December 19, 2019

2 Min Read
USMCA passes house
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By a vote of 385 to 41, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement. The agreement, long supported by nearly all U.S. ag groups, replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

"Today was a crucial win for all U.S. beef producers and a reassurance that U.S. beef will continue to have duty-free access to Canada and Mexico," said NCBA President Jennifer Houston. "A big thank-you goes to the Trump administration and every lawmaker who voted to approve USMCA. Of course, there is still more work left to do, so I urge the Senate to swiftly pass the USMCA and send it to the president's desk."

According to Dan Halstrom, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) president and CEO, “Ratification of USMCA is an important step in solidifying trade relations with Mexico and Canada, which are critical destinations for U.S. pork, beef and lamb. This agreement will bolster the United States' position as a reliable supplier to two leading markets that currently account for about one-third of all U.S. red meat exports. We look forward to the Senate taking up this legislation as soon as possible and completing the ratification process.”

Likewise, the Farm Bureau hailed the vote.

“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, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement. 

Related:Voter pressure, intense negotiations get USMCA deal finalized

“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.

“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.”

USMCA background

Designed to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, the USMCA builds on important trade relationships in North America:

  • The agreement is expected to increase U.S. ag exports by $2 billion and result in a $65 billion increase in gross domestic product.

  • The agreement will provide new market access for American dairy and poultry products while preserving the zero-tariff platform on all other ag products.

  • 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.

Related:Mexican Senate ratifies USMCA

 

 

 

About the Author(s)

Burt Rutherford

Senior Editor, BEEF Magazine

Burt Rutherford is director of content and senior editor of BEEF. He has nearly 40 years’ experience communicating about the beef industry. A Colorado native and graduate of Colorado State University with a degree in agricultural journalism, he now works from his home base in Colorado. He worked as communications director for the North American Limousin Foundation and editor of the Western Livestock Journal before spending 21 years as communications director for the Texas Cattle Feeders Association. He works to keep BEEF readers informed of trends and production practices to bolster the bottom line.

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