The National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers, and the National Sorghum Producers announced their collective support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA). The announcement came as the organizations took part in the Commodity Classic, held in Orlando, Florida.
The groups say Mexico and Canada account for 25 percent of all U.S. agriculture exports and the USMCA preserves and builds upon the existing trading relationships between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Members of all four organizations will be advocating members of Congress to ratify the agreement this year. They’ll also be urging the administration to keep the current NAFTA agreement in place until the new one is ratified.
NCGA President Lynn Chrisp says, “Mexico and Canada are the corn industry’s largest, most reliable market. In fact, Mexico is U.S. corn’s number one buyer.”
Davie Stephens, ASA president, says, “Passage of USMCA would boost both national and rural economies, and for soybeans, it would ensure tariff-free access to two strong markets.”
Wheat Growers President Jimmie Musick says, “USMCA will include tariff-free access to imported U.S. wheat for our long-time flour milling customers in Mexico.”
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue used a football analogy to describe the process of passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. He calls passage more of a “field goal” than a touchdown. Perdue says the reason for the difficulty is the administration hasn’t yet removed the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from two key North American trading partners. Perdue told reporters last week that he’ll consider it a “touchdown, a more certain success when we get those tariffs removed.”
When the trade pact negotiations were moving along smoothly, Canada and Mexico were exempt from the tariffs. However, when things stalled, that exemption came to an end. As was expected, Mexico and Canada both hit back with retaliatory tariffs. Mexican tariffs have hit American agriculture hard on cheese, pork, apples, and potatoes.
Perdue says the tariffs need to go as they accomplished the goal of getting Mexico and Canada to the negotiating table. “Once you’ve achieved your goals with the tariffs, then it’s probably time to look at other ways,” Perdue says. He realizes that the tariffs remain a thorn in the process of getting the deal ratified in all three countries.
Source: National Association of Farm Broadcasters