WASHINGTON – The US Senate approved the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the meat industry couldn’t be happier.
“The US meat and poultry industry exports $5.5 billion annually in products to Canada and Mexico,” said Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “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.”
Mexico has already ratified the deal. The House of Representatives passed the bill on Dec. 19, 2019, by a 385-41 vote. Canada will be the last nation to consider the agreement when its parliament returns from winter break on Jan. 27.
“The US Senate moving quickly to approve USMCA reaffirms the United States’ commitment to two key trading partners, both of which are very important destinations for US pork, beef and lamb,” said US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom in a statement. “USMEF applauds Congressional leaders and the Trump administration, especially the trade experts within USTR and USDA, for their tireless efforts to ratify USMCA, which bolsters our position as a reliable supplier to two leading markets that account for about one-third of all US red meat exports. Shipments to Mexico and Canada in 2019 totaled about 1.25 million metric tons valued at $3.8 billion, and the US red meat industry looks forward to many years of further growth.”
Pork, beef, chicken and turkey industry leaders all applauded the ratification, citing the many benefits to each segment of the US meat industry.
“Ratification of USMCA has been a top priority for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), and we thank members of the Senate who supported this critical trade deal,” said NPPC President David Herring, a hog farmer from Lillington, North Carolina. “USMCA provides US pork producers with certainty in two of our largest export markets. It received strong support in both chambers of Congress, and we look forward to seeing President Trump sign it into law.”
In 2018, Canada and Mexico took more than 40 percent of the pork that was exported from the United States and a similar volume is expected in 2019. US pork exports to Canada and Mexico support 16,000 US jobs.
“We also appreciate the administration’s work to establish a phase-one trade agreement with China,” Herring added. “We urge China to eliminate all restrictions on US pork exports at a time when they are struggling with food price inflation and need reliable, affordable sources of pork. Doing so would more than double annual US pork sales, generate 184,000 new American jobs and reduce the overall trade deficit with China by nearly 6 percent, all within the next decade.”
The beef industry echoed the sentiments regarding the Senate’s approval.
“The ratification of USMCA is a crucial win for all US beef producers and a reassurance that US beef will continue to have unrestricted, duty-free access to Canada and Mexico. NCBA has been a strong supporter of USMCA since Day 1, and we believe that today’s vote sends a strong message to the rest of the world that the United States believes in free and fair trade,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Jennifer Houston. “We are thankful to every Member of Congress in both House and Senate who voted for USMCA, and we thank President Trump for continuing to secure and defend strong market access for America’s cattlemen and cattlewomen.”
National Chicken Council President Mike Brown said: “The passage of USMCA is great news for America’s chicken producers. USMCA will maintain or improve market access for chicken exports in our top two valued markets – Mexico and Canada. It will also positively impact both the US agriculture sector and the broader national economy.
“I want to thank President Trump for his leadership and for the tireless work of the administration, including Agriculture Secretary Perdue and US Trade Representative Lighthizer. We look forward to President Trump’s signature as early as today.”
The National Turkey Federation released another approving statement: “Today’s Senate passage of the USMCA is an important victory for the US turkey industry. Mexico is the largest export market for US turkey products, and securing this trade relationship is a leading priority for American turkey farmers and processors. The road to ratification of the USMCA has been complex, but thanks to the efforts of the Trump Administration, congressional leaders and our trading partners, this vital goal of NTF and our members is becoming a reality. NTF is eager to move towards implementation of this agreement.”