WASHINGTON – Democratic House leadership announced on Dec. 10 that it reached an agreement with President Donald Trump on the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
Both sides have worked for more than a year to review issues with enforcement of labor and environmental guidelines for the new trade deal.
“There is no question of course that this trade agreement is much better than NAFTA, but in terms of our work here, it is infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said to reporters in Washington.
President Trump tweeted his approval of Democrats agreeing to pass the long-anticipated trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.
America’s great USMCA Trade Bill is looking good. It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody - Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions - tremendous support. Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2019
Looking like very good Democrat support for USMCA. That would be great for our Country!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2019
The USMCA was signed by President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Nov. 30, 2018, in Buenos Aries, Argentina. The new trade deal is set to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) said he had been pushing the deal to the finish line for months and that the announcement is great news for farmers, businesses and workers, in his district and nationwide.
“This agreement makes updates to how the three countries will address biotechnology, and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues,” Peterson said in a statement. “The USMCA also preserves the market our farmers are currently accessing while making modest gains for our dairy, poultry, and wheat growers in the Canadian market. Rural America has faced many hurdles and challenges with these trade wars and passing the USMCA is a step in the right direction.”
House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa (D-CA) echoed similar sentiments on the trade deal.
“The USMCA protects the access they had into the Canadian and Mexican markets, and provides nominal gains in some important areas,” Costa said in a statement. “It’s good to see that this deal strengthens labor and environmental standards and provides mechanisms to enforce this agreement. I am proud to support approval of the USMCA, but we also must recognize that going forward, incremental improvements and protecting the status quo won’t reverse farmer losses as a result of the trade war.”
Meat and agricultural associations reacted to the news in a positive manner.
The North American Meat Institute stated that it wanted Congress to “swiftly approve” the USMCA.
“We are pleased with the agreement reached between the Trump Administration and House Leadership allowing Congress to consider USMCA before the holidays,” said Julie Anna Potts, president and chief executive officer of the North American Meat Institute (NAMI). “The US meat and poultry industry exports $5.5 billion annually in products to Canada and Mexico. Swift adoption of this agreement is critical to meat and poultry processors and the millions of US farmers, ranchers, allied manufacturers and transportation companies in the food supply chain.”
The National Chicken Council (NCC) also released a statement on behalf of the poultry industry and thanked the Trump administration.
“USMCA will maintain and improve market access for US chicken in our top two markets in terms of value, Mexico and Canada,” said NCC President Mike Brown. “It will also positively impact both the US agriculture sector and the broader national economy.”
The National Turkey Federation (NTF) said, “It’s taken a great deal of hard work to reach consensus on the USMCA, and we thank President Trump, Ambassador Lighthizer, Secretary Perdue, Speaker Pelosi and congressional leaders in both parties who have gotten us to this point. Now, it’s time for Congress to come together and vote in support of the USMCA, which reinforces our country’s relationship with two critical foreign markets for US turkey products.”