Politicians and agriculture leaders were responding Dec. 10 to news of a breakthrough deal for the USMCA, expected to lead to ratification by Congress in December.
Here are statements released Dec. 10 about the progress of the trade deal:
- Tom Stenzel, president and CEO of the United Fresh Produce Association: "International trade is a critical business tool throughout the entire supply chain of the fresh produce industry. Most importantly with consumers demanding year-round access to fresh produce, we need the certainty of a strong USMCA agreement. United Fresh has always supported free and fair trade globally seeking to open markets to U.S. products while ensuring equivalent access for foreign products to the United States. With so much uncertainty in Washington, D.C. these days, we urge Congress to act swiftly and in a bipartisan manner to pass this important agreement. Every day this agreement is not ratified further creates uncertainty with our most valuable trading partners."
- Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue: “USMCA is a big win for American workers and the economy, especially for our farmers and ranchers. The agreement improves virtually every component of the old NAFTA, and the agriculture industry stands to gain significantly. President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer are laying the foundation for a stronger farm economy through USMCA and I thank them for all their hard work and perseverance to get the agreement across the finish line. While I am very encouraged by today’s breakthrough, we must not lose sight – the House and Senate need to work diligently to pass USMCA by Christmas.”
- Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation: “We urge members of Congress to swiftly approve the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Agriculture is at a critical crossroads with the downturn in commodity prices, losses from natural disasters and the trade war. This is an opportunity for Congress not only to help U.S. farmers and ranchers turn the corner on trade, but also show that Washington can still get things done on a bipartisan basis. Ratification of the USMCA would build on the momentum of the U.S.-Japan agreement, which gave a major boost to American agricultural products in our fourth-largest market, and send a signal that the U.S. is back in business in the international marketplace. We urge Congress to work toward speedy approval. America’s farms and ranches are depending on you.”
- Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn. and chairman of the House Agriculture Committee: “I have been pushing for months to get this deal to the finish line, and this announcement is great news for farmers, businesses and workers, in Western Minnesota and nationwide. The threat of leaving NAFTA without a deal would have been devastating, and this deal provides needed certainty for our producers. This agreement makes updates to how the three countries will address biotechnology, and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues. The USMCA also preserves the market our farmers are currently accessing while making modest gains for our dairy, poultry, and wheat growers in the Canadian market. Rural America has faced many hurdles and challenges with these trade wars, and passing the USMCA is a step in the right direction.”
- Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., and chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture: “Trade is vital to American agriculture, especially for the specialty crop, tree nut, dairy and livestock producers in the San Joaquin Valley and across California. The USMCA protects the access they had into the Canadian and Mexican markets, and provides nominal gains in some important areas. It’s good to see that this deal strengthens labor and environmental standards and provides mechanisms to enforce this agreement. I am proud to support approval of the USMCA, but we also must recognize that going forward, incremental improvements and protecting the status quo won’t reverse farmer losses as a result of the trade war. For that to happen, the Administration needs to remove its tariffs, which are the source of so much economic hardship for our farmers, and at the core of our depressed farm economy.”
- Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee:“Today’s announcement of a deal on USMCA is news America’s farmers and ranchers have been waiting over a year for. I appreciate the work of President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer in delivering on the promise of an improved trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. I urge Speaker Pelosi to quickly schedule a vote on USMCA.”
- Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association: “The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is encouraged by the latest USMCA negotiations and hopes the announced deal will lead to swift congressional ratification of this important multilateral trade agreement. Under NAFTA, the CPG industry thrived and now contributes $2 trillion and 20 million jobs to the U.S. economy — and we anticipate continued growth and success for the industry under USMCA. Strong relationships with key trading partners are essential to our ability to provide Americans with the safe, affordable, high-quality products they enjoy every day.”