USMCA progress (and maybe more tariffs)

The White House in late May sent a draft “Statement of Administrative Action” to Congress, triggering a process that allows President Trump to submit the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal for approval within 30 days. The document outlines the U.S. laws that will change in order for USMCA to go into effect.

In general, U.S. agriculture strongly supports USMCA ratification.

“The administration’s submitting the Statement of Administration Action on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to Congress is good news for U.S. farmers and ranchers. This notice means that we are one step closer to locking in vital market opportunities developed with our North American neighbors and expanding further on the gains we’ve made over the past three decades,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“The USMCA will provide new market access for dairy and poultry products and maintains the zero-tariff platform on most ag products. It includes provisions for improved health and safety standards that will reduce trade-distorting practices. It also contains measures that address cooperation, information sharing and other trade rules among the three nations related to agricultural biotechnology and gene editing. We still have work to do in some areas, such as addressing the timing of import surges from Mexico to ensure they do not harm our domestic fruit and vegetable sectors. However, we need to secure the gains that are in front of us today.

“The SAA begins a 30-day period after which the administration may submit implementing legislation for the USMCA to be considered by Congress. It is an important step toward a vote on the agreement.”

But also in late May, the Trump Administration made an announcement about a possible tariff being imposed on all Mexican imports over border security issues and, at press time it was unclear what affect this could have on USMCA ratification. President Donald Trump said he would implement 5% tariffs on all Mexican goods as of June 10, rising by another 5% a month until October, unless Mexico puts and end to all illegal migration into the United States.

“We appeal to President Trump to reconsider plans to open a new trade dispute with Mexico. American pork producers cannot afford retaliatory tariffs from its largest export market, tariffs which Mexico will surely implement. Over the last year, trade disputes with Mexico and China have cost hard-working U.S. pork producers and their families approximately $2.5 billion,” said David Herring, president of the National Pork Producers Council. “Let’s move forward with ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, preserving zero-tariff pork trade in North America for the long term; complete a trade agreement with Japan; and resolve the trade dispute with China, where U.S. pork has a historic opportunity to dramatically expand exports given the countries struggle with African swine fever.

“We hope those members of Congress who are working to restrict the administration’s trade relief programs take note. While these programs provide only partial relief to the damage trade retaliation has exacted on U.S. agriculture, they are desperately needed. We need the full participation of all organizations involved in the U.S. pork supply chain for these programs to deliver their intended benefits.”



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