America’s farmers and ranchers received a second round of good news this week with Senate approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). This morning, the U.S. Senate passed the implementing legislation for the USMCA by a bipartisan 89 to 10 vote. At a time when farmers continue to face strong economic headwinds, the agreement is expected to increase U.S. agriculture exports by $2 billion.
“This trade agreement comes at a critical time for farmers and ranchers, increasing optimism that we’ll turn the corner in 2020,” said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “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.”
The USMCA is expected to result in a $65 billion increase in gross domestic product. Canada will increase quotas on U.S. dairy products, benefitting American dairy farmers by $242 million. Canada will also treat wheat imports the same as domestic wheat for grading and pricing.
“We commend President Trump, the House and the Senate for working together in a bipartisan manner to enhance these important trade relationships and help jumpstart our ag economy,” Duvall added. “Their leadership shows a dedication to protecting the livelihood of millions of Americans on the farm and throughout the food system.”
President Donald Trump is expected to sign the USMCA soon, the final step to enacting the agreement.
The USMCA vote comes just one day after the United States signed a new trade agreement with China, which promises to increase agricultural exports overseas by tens of billions of dollars.
U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, “My vote for the USMCA is one of the best I’ve taken because I am certain it will benefit and grow the billions of dollars in trade Mississippi does with our North American neighbors. Agriculture and manufacturing will grow, but improvements in the trade agreement also creates opportunities for e-commerce and small business.”
The American Soybean Association expressed its strong appreciation to Senate leaders. “ASA has worked throughout the year to encourage legislative support for USMCA, so we appreciate Congress working with the administration, coming together for this bipartisan effort, and getting USMCA to the final step,” said Bill Gordon. “In addition to securing the Mexican market as the second largest importer of U.S. soybeans, the terms agreed to by Canada will increase U.S. poultry and dairy exports, which is also a positive for our industry.”