Food and ag groups, companies urge Congress to pass USMCA
Congress must pass the trade agreement, letter says, to enable food and agriculture to trade more fairly with top two markets.
A group of 67 food and agriculture associations and companies sent a letter on May 6 to Congressional leadership and all 535 Congressional offices strongly urging lawmakers to vote to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
According to the Washington, D.C.-based International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), groups and companies from across the food and agriculture spectrum underscored in the letter that the new agreement includes important improvements that will enable food and agriculture to trade more fairly, as well as to expand exports of American agricultural products, to Canada and Mexico. Furthermore, the letter states, a recent analysis of the USMCA by the International Trade Commission (ITC) found the deal to be a boon for the U.S. economy, potentially raising U.S. gross domestic product by $68.2 billion and pumping an additional $2.2 billion, or 1.1%, into the U.S. economy through increases in agricultural and food exports.
“The food and agriculture industry welcomed the opportunity to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),” the letter says. “Since NAFTA was implemented, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico quadrupled from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $39 billion in 2017.”
The letter goes on to detail findings from the ITC report, IDFA said, including that the USMCA "would likely have a positive impact on all broad industry sectors within the U.S. economy" and “a positive impact on the U.S. agriculture sector.”
Trade with Canada and Mexico supports more than 12 million American jobs in every state in the country. Canada and Mexico buy American grains, dairy products, meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, IDFA noted. Nearly one-third of U.S. agricultural exports valued at approximately $40 billion go to North American neighbors, supporting more than 300,000 American jobs.
American farmers, ranchers and food companies praised USMCA for its outstanding market access and modern science-based sanitary and phytosanitary standards, which are the strongest achieved in any trade agreement. There is strong support for ratification of USMCA from U.S. food and agriculture associations and companies, IDFA said.
Read the letter here.