WASHINGTON – Sixty-seven food and agricultural associations and companies on May 6 sent a letter to members of Congress urging passage of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which, if ratified by Congress and the parliaments of Mexico and Canada, would succeed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“This new agreement includes important improvements that will enable food and agriculture to trade more fairly, and to expand exports of American agricultural products to our North American partners,” the letter stated.

The groups pointed out that since NAFTA was implemented, US agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico quadrupled from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $39 billion in 2017. They also referred members of Congress to the International Trade Commission’s new report, “The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement: Likely impact on the US economy and specific industry sectors,” which determined that the USMCA “would likely have a positive impact on all broad industry sectors within the US economy” and “a positive impact on the US agriculture sector.”

The ITC report indicated the trade agreement would raise the US GDP by $68.2 billion, pumping an additional $2.2 billion, or 1.1 percent, into the US economy through increases in agricultural and food exports.

“The ITC report confirmed our belief that the USMCA will further increase the benefit to American farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses by improving market access and customs procedures, establishing modern, science-based sanitary and phytosanitary standards, and enhancing standards for biotechnology and strengthening safeguards for commonly used food names,” the groups said.

“Canada and Mexico account for over $45 billion in US agriculture exports and support more than one million American jobs,” the groups affirmed. “In order to build upon that success, Congress must pass USMCA. On behalf of America’s farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses, we respectfully ask you to vote to ratify the USMCA.”