U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue released the following statement after the Section 232 tariffs were removed from Canada and Mexico. “Today’s announcement is a big win for American agriculture and the economy as a whole. I thank President Trump for negotiating a great deal and for negotiating the removal of these tariffs. Canada and Mexico are two of our top three trading partners, and it is my expectation that they will immediately pull back their retaliatory tariffs against our agricultural products. Congress should move swiftly to ratify the USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) so American farmers can begin to benefit from the agreement.”
The following statement is from American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.
“The lifting of steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexican and Canadian imports and the elimination of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural products by Mexico and Canada is welcome news.
“Retaliatory tariffs are a drag on American farmers and ranchers at a time when they are suffering more economic difficulty than many can remember. Elimination of these tariffs should help pave the way for approval of the USMCA by Congress. Likewise, keeping an eye on today’s deal should address concerns about dumping and unfair subsidies.
“With this milestone reached, we urge negotiators to continue their work toward reopening markets with the European Union, China and Japan. The Farm Bureau believes in fair trade. Eliminating more tariffs and other trade barriers is critical to achieving that goal.”
Colin Woodall, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) senior vice president, government affairs, released the following statement in response to a deal that will lead Canada and Mexico to drop retaliatory tariffs against U.S. producers:
““NCBA is grateful to President Trump for working with Canada and Mexico to resolve the steel and aluminum tariff situation. Removing this trade barrier opens the door for Congress to ratify the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA). NCBA strongly supports the USMCA, and now is the time for Congress to work with President Trump to ratify the USMCA as soon as possible. We cannot afford to delay action on this monumental agreement.”
The Trump administration announced plans to lift the 25 percent tariff on steel and the 10 percent duty on aluminum imports imposed last year on Canada and Mexico. Both countries subsequently retaliated against a host of U.S. products.
“We thank the administration for ending a trade dispute that has placed enormous financial strain on American pork producers,” said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina, and president of the National Pork Producers Council. “Mexico’s 20 percent retaliatory tariff on U.S. pork has cost our producers $12 per animal, or $1.5 billion on an annualized, industry-wide basis. Removing the metal tariffs restores zero-tariff trade to U.S. pork’s largest export market and allows NPPC to focus more resources on working toward ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which preserves zero-tariff trade for U.S. pork in North America.”
Last year, Canada and Mexico took over 40 percent of the pork that was exported from the United States. NPPC has designated USMCA ratification as a “key vote” and will closely monitor support of the agreement among members of Congress. U.S. pork exports to Mexico and Canada support 16,000 U.S. jobs.
“We are also hopeful that the end of this dispute allows more focus on the quick completion of a trade deal with Japan,” Herring added. “U.S. pork is losing market in its largest value market to international competitors that have recently implemented new trade agreements with Japan.”
According to Dermot Hayes, an economist at Iowa State University, U.S. pork will see exports to Japan grow from $1.6 billion in 2018 to more than $2.2 billion over the next 15 years if the U.S. quickly gains access on par with international competitors. Hayes reports that U.S. pork shipments to Japan will drop to $349 million if a trade deal on these terms is not quickly reached with Japan.
The Southern Peanut Farmers Federation (SPFF) released the following statement after the announcement of the removal of the Section 232 tariffs.
Armond Morris, chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission, commented for the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation: “Peanut growers appreciate President Trump’s efforts to negotiate the removal of the tariffs on steel and aluminum with Mexico and Canada as well as related retaliatory tariffs by those countries. Both Mexico and Canada are important trading partners for the peanut industry. This is a step in the right direction to improve the U.S. agricultural economy.”
The SPFF is comprised of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, the Florida Peanut Producers Association, the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association and the Georgia Peanut Commission. These are the respective “check-off” organizations in each state. The SPFF board consist of eight members comprised of the chief elected officer and the executive director of each organization. Action requires unanimous agreement.
U.S. dairy officials congratulated the governments of the United States, Mexico and Canada for reaching an agreement to roll back metal tariffs that have soured U.S.-Mexico cheese trade and slowed passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The United States agreed to end Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from its North American neighbors. In return, U.S. dairy officials expect that Mexico will drop their retaliatory tariffs against U.S. dairy products – including duties as high as 25 percent on U.S. cheese exports to Mexico.
“This is an important development for the U.S. dairy industry, and we applaud the hard work of negotiators from all three countries that made it possible as well as the numerous members of Congress that have insisted upon the need to resolve the Section 232 metal tariffs dispute with our North American partners,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC). “If Mexico lifts its tariffs on U.S. dairy in response, it would be a welcome return to normalcy with our number-one export market. It would also build vital momentum for swiftly advancing USMCA towards passage.”
“America’s struggling dairy farmers are in need of some good news, and today’s announcement certainly helps,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). “This paves the way for Mexico to drop retaliatory tariffs that have harmed dairy, and for Congress to take its next step to help our producers – to vote on USMCA and quickly ratify it.”
Mexico is, by far, America’s biggest dairy customer, with $1.4 billion in sales last year. U.S. products accounted for 80 percent of Mexican dairy imports by value in 2018, but that dominant market share was being jeopardized by the retaliatory tariffs.
The tariffs were likewise making it politically difficult for Congress to pass USMCA – a pact that modernizes the North American Free Trade Agreement, maintains U.S. dairy sales into Mexico, expands dairy market access in Canada, and reforms many nontariff barriers.
Vilsack and Mulhern also stressed the importance of finding similar common ground with China, which also slapped retaliatory tariffs on U.S. dairy exporters in 2018 and recently upped the ante by hiking them further on some products. As a result of last year’s move by China, U.S. exports to that fast-growing dairy market fell by more than 40 percent in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period last year. NMPF and USDEC have consistently advocated the urgency of resolving both the 232 and China disputes to allow our exporters to compete effectively in those markets.