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Farm Bureau Members Encouraged by USMCA

Podcast / Newsline January 22, 2019

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The Trump administration’s replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement will continue and improve trade with Canada and Mexico. Micheal Clements has more.

Clements: Once implemented, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, set to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, provides U.S. agriculture with continued growing trade. At the 2019 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show, AFBF Senior Congressional Relations Director Dave Salmonsen says it’s important to be patient as trade agreements take time. With the trade agreement signed by all three countries, economic reports from the International Trade Commission are the next step.

Salmonsen: That’s due to be submitted in the middle of March, could go on a little later because of the government shutdown. After that, then the administration is required to send up a draft of the bill that they will submit so Congress can look at least at an early draft version of that. And then it’s up to the administration to put the implementing bill before Congress. A lot of it depends on the ability of the White House and Congress to work together and come up with a timeframe to move this agreement towards congressional passage.

Clements: Salmonsen says USMCA continues the value of trade relationships with Canada and Mexico along with other benefits.

Salmonsen: You put Canada and Mexico together, that’s almost a third of all of our agricultural exports, so it’s good to trade with the neighbors. We did get some additional access into Canada for some dairy products and some poultry products, so that’s positive. We also have a better sanitary/phytosanitary standards regime. Biotechnology was important. And, with Mexico, specifically geographic indications, the labeling there. All in all, positive I think, for all three countries when it comes to agriculture.

Clements: He says Farm Bureau members are happy to see the negotiation is complete and look forward to final passage and implementation.

Salmonsen: They were pleased that the negotiations wrapped up, looking forward to working with Congress to try to get it passed. Understand, that like any trade agreement, it takes a while. But, I think overall and for the members here, working with their people in Congress, feel very confident that we can move that through this year.

Clements: Micheal Clements, New Orleans.

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