KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Meat and poultry industry groups and associations continue to react to the new North American Free Trade Agreement, now renamed, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The National Pork and Producers Council (NPPC) praised the Trump administration saying the new free trade deal preserves a zero-tariff standard for US pork to Mexico and Canada.

“We thank the administration for its diligent work to complete recent agreements that maintain zero-tariff access to three of US pork’s top five markets,” said Jim Heimerl, NPPC president and a pork producer for Johnstown, Ohio. “The three-way pact with Mexico and Canada, our largest and fourth largest export markets, respectively, and the recently signed agreement with Korea represent welcome momentum during what has been a challenging year.”

The agreement was sent to Congress on Oct. 1 for ratification. Early reporting indicates that a vote on the deal will not happen until after the November midterms. 

The American Farm Bureau Federation echoed many of the NPPC sentiments.

“Trade is critical to agriculture, especially trade with our two closest neighbors. The USMCA builds on the success our farmers and ranchers have seen from NAFTA,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “We are grateful for the progress with Mexico and Canada, and we look forward to working with the Administration to strengthen new and existing opportunities for agricultural trade across the globe.”

The US Meat Export Federation took a slightly different tone in their statement. Although the group was pleased with the elimination of tariffs, USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom raised some concerns over other parts of the deal that are unclear.

“While this is very positive news for the US red meat industry, it is important to note that the retaliatory duties imposed by Mexico on US pork and by Canada on US prepared/cooked beef products remain in place,” he said. “These duties were imposed in response to US Section 232 tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Mexico and Canada, and these tariffs also remain in place. USMEF hopes to see this issue resolved soon, so that all US red meat exports will once again have duty-free access to Mexico and Canada.”