Arizona Agriculture Celebrates the Passage of USMCA
In an overwhelming 89 to 10 vote today the United States Senate passed the United States Mexico Trade Agreement (USMCA) sending the trade agreement to President Trump. Evidence of the excitement of this deal included a record high in the stock market. Several Arizona leaders are equally excited.
“The USMCA is crucial for the future of agriculture in the state of Arizona,” said Arizona Farm Bureau President Stefanie Smallhouse. “Canada and Mexico are Arizona’s top trading partners totaling an annual value of $1.7 billion in agriculture exports including dairy, beef, fruits, vegetables, wheat, and pork. Smallhouse and a farm and ranch delegation from Arizona met with administration officials at the White House and Congressional representatives last year to advance the cause of agriculture in our state and especially stress the importance of free trade. She and her husband, Andy, farm and ranch in Pima County.
Smallhouse added, “The agriculture industry is already having tough times. This trade agreement will bring some relief to Arizona agriculture producers as well as pave the way for new opportunities in the future. With both the USMCA and the China Trade deal secured this week, it brings more certainty to farm and ranch families and puts everyone on notice that we are open for business. Arizona's farmers and ranchers are ready with high-quality food and fiber products to fill local and global demands.”
Arizona’s U.S. Senators also had praise for the bill. U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) said, “Good news for Arizona’s workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses is finally on its way. For over a year, I have advocated tirelessly to get USMCA to the president’s desk. I have met with hundreds of employees and local businesses to hear how their livelihoods will only be improved with the passage of the USMCA and the opportunities it will bring.
“Arizona’s economy is heavily reliant on cross-border commerce with Mexico and Canada. It sustains more than 228,000 Arizona jobs and over $9 billion in exports to our neighbors. This trade agreement will harness job growth and spur economic activity by modernizing the antiquated guidelines stifling greater and wide-ranging opportunities for cross-border commerce.
Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) echoes the same sentiments. “Cross-border trade means more Arizona jobs, a stronger economy, and greater opportunity for Arizona families. I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, and I am glad the Senate approved this critical agreement with bipartisan support.”
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement is an agreement to modernize the 25-year-old NAFTA by the governments of the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Arizona Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau (AFBF) have lobbied Congress for some time now to make this all happen. The agreement is expected to increase U.S. agriculture exports by billions of dollars.
“This trade agreement comes at a critical time for farmers and ranchers, increasing optimism that we’ll turn the corner in 2020,” said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “USMCA is an important step toward restoring the competitiveness of America’s farmers and ranchers, strengthening our trade relationships in North America and setting an example for agreements with other important trading partners.”
The USMCA is expected to result in a $65 billion increase in gross domestic product. Canada will increase quotas on U.S. dairy products, benefitting American dairy farmers by $242 million. Canada will also treat wheat imports the same as domestic wheat for grading and pricing.
“We commend President Trump, the House and the Senate for working together in a bipartisan manner to enhance these important trade relationships and help jumpstart our ag economy,” Duvall added. “Their leadership shows a dedication to protecting the livelihood of millions of Americans on the farm and throughout the food system.”
The USMCA vote comes just one day after the United States signed a new trade agreement with China, which promises to increase agricultural exports overseas by tens of billions of dollars.
Duvall said, “USMCA, the China trade agreement, the recently enacted U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, and the U.S.-South Korea Rice Agreement are moving us toward rebalancing the scales of international trade. It is important this trend continues as the U.S. negotiates agreements with other international trading partners. We’re making great strides in giving farmers and ranchers fair access to the global market again.”
Additional trade agreements worthy of attention include the U.S.-European Union negotiations, as well as an agreement with the United Kingdom as it leaves the European Union.
The agreement now heads to the president’s desk for his signature. Mexico has already ratified the USMCA, and the agreement will go into effect once Canada approves the finalized agreement.
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