On July 1, 2020, the United States Mexico Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) was officially implemented. The USMC offers a fair free trade agreement that focuses on modernization and impartiality.
Under its predecessor trade agreement, NAFTA, many agricultural products that were exported from the U.S. to Canada suffered from an unfair pricing scheme, poor market access, and irrational regulations. The USMCA provides new market access for all U.S. agricultural products, a fair non-discriminatory pricing plan, and improved grading standards for the products going forward.
Over the past 20 years, there have been many technological advancements, especially in the agriculture sector. Unfortunately, the provisions in NAFTA were no longer up to date with these advancements and was quickly becoming obsolete. In the USMCA there are provisions that enhance science-based trading standards among the three nations as the basis for sanitary and phytosanitary measures for ag products, as well as progress in the area of geographic indications. The USMCA is also the first free trade agreement to address cooperation, information sharing, and other trade rules related to biotechnology and gene editing.
The overhaul of NAFTA into the USMCA is completely necessary and could not have come at a better time. The agriculture industry is rapidly changing and advancing with new conservation measures, genetic modification advancements, geographic indicators, and many more technological advances, the industry needed an updated trade agreement that would serve the best interest of all the countries as well as be relevant in times to come.
In Arizona, this trade agreement is also completely necessary and will greatly help the agriculture economy. The agriculture sector of the state brings in $23.3 billion yearly in state revenue, 138,000 full and part-time jobs, and 58,000 on-farm labor jobs. This number is stagnant under NAFTA with all the unfair regulations and prices. With the USMCA, the number will only continue to grow.
The Arizona Farm Bureau is pleased about the new trade agreement and is happy to announce the new and exciting trade markets available for agriculture producers in the state of Arizona in order to do trade with Mexico and Canada. This agreement will set the stage for future trade agreements. The future of agricultural trade is bright and will only enhance the agricultural industry in Arizona.