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Livestock Groups Comment on USMCA Report

Dan Cattle, Dairy, Exports/Imports, Livestock, Trade

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The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) released an economic analysis of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) late last week. The report included an impact of the agreement on the U.S. economy, a required step before Congress can consider ratification of the deal. USITC concluded that USMCA will have an overall favorable impact on the U.S. economy, increasing U.S. exports to Mexico and Canada by nearly seven and six percent, respectively.

Various livestock groups commented on the report, in what some called a key step in the trade agreement approval process.

Dairy industry officials noted they are eager to see USMCA’s passage. President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, Tom Vilsack, said the ITC study is important because it moves the USMCA process closer to ratification, a step urgently needed to secure trading conditions with Mexico and usher in the improvements the agreement makes for U.S. exports.

In a release, Vilsack said “We shipped $1.4 billion in dairy products to Mexico last year, which accounts for more than one-fourth of U.S. dairy exports,” he said. “Without a trade treaty with Mexico in place, the dairy industry would be hard pressed to maintain and expand these sales, as our competitors in Europe are expected to implement a lucrative new trade arrangement with Mexico by next year. Moreover, without USMCA we lose out on the new rules this deal puts in place such as key reforms to Canada’s dairy system. Congress must pass USMCA to shore up our market in Mexico and harness the gains made in other areas through USMCA.”

President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, Jim Mulhern said “When examining USMCA’s benefit to the economy, we believe it is important to keep the full picture in mind of what’s at stake here. USDA recently reported that our country lost an average of seven dairy farms a day in 2018 due to the poor economic conditions in rural America. That’s a startling number, and reversing this alarming trend is what we should be discussing. USMCA helps put us on a path to doing that by safeguarding our largest export market and instituting valuable new improvements to dairy trade in North America.”

Nick Giordano, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) vice president and counsel, global government affairs, said “NPPC supports ratification of USMCA, an agreement that preserves zero-tariff access to markets that represent more than 30 percent of total U.S. pork exports. We are eager to see the removal of U.S. metal tariffs that prompted Mexico’s 20 percent retaliatory tariffs nearly a year ago. Members of Congress have said that ratification of USMCA will be delayed and the benefits of the agreement diluted as long as this trade dispute goes unresolved.”

Giordano added, “The value of U.S. pork exports to Mexico are down 32 percent this year due to punitive tariffs. Our farmers need zero-tariff trade restored to our largest export market.”

The National Cattlemen Beef Association (NCBA) noted while the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) remains in a holding pattern, with no clear timetable for consideration in Congress, two key developments could help pave the way for USMCA to move forward. One of those being the release of the USITC report, and the other concerning Mexican Labor Reforms. NCBA Noted that Mexico is moving forward with key labor reforms that Democrats want completed before they take up USMCA in the House. 

You can read the USMCA report on the USITC website.