Ag Policy Blog

Commodity Groups Champion USMCA Ratification

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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The major commodity organizations gathering this week in Orlando, Fla., each announced their support Friday for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

The American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association and National Sorghum Producers each endorsed the USMCA, citing that Mexico and Canada account for 25% of all U.S. agricultural exports "and USMCA preserves and builds upon the existing trade relationship between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

In their joint statement, none of the groups' leaders called for removing the steel and aluminum tariffs off Canada or Mexico, which is considered an impediment to getting the trade agreement ratified. The steel and aluminum tariffs also led to retaliatory tariffs against U.S. agricultural products.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, testifying Thursday before the Senate Agriculture Committee, said he trying to convince President Trump to accept a tariff rate quota of steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico to remove the Section 232 tariffs.

"We're working hard to persuade him that the steel industry here, which he is concerned about, can be protected through a TRQ program rather than tariffs and release the retaliatory tariffs," Perdue told senators.

The commodity groups stated they will lobby Congress to ratify the USMCA this year while also trying to keep the Trump Administration from withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement until the new trade agreement is ratified.

“Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable corn market; Mexico is corn’s number one buyer and Canada is one of our largest ethanol importers. We cannot afford to risk losing this market,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp. “USMCA is NCGA’s top legislative priority for 2019 and we will be working closely with the Administration and members of Congress to get it ratified.”

“Passage of USMCA would boost both national and rural economies, and for soybeans, it would assure us tariff-free access to two strong markets, including Mexico, which is our #2 market for whole beans. Under NAFTA, soybean exports to Mexico quadrupled and to Canada doubled. We would like to continue that positive trade momentum with our neighbors,” said Davie Stephens, ASA President and a soybean grower from Clinton, Kentucky.

“USMCA includes important provisions for wheat farmers including tariff-free access to imported U.S. wheat for our long-time flour milling customers in Mexico. Further, the Agreement makes important progress toward fixing the grading issue U.S. farmers face when exporting their wheat to Canada,” stated NAWG President and Sentinel, Oklahoma wheat farmer Jimmie Musick. “NAWG, ASA, NCGA, and NSP will continue to work together to get this critical trade deal enacted.”

"The new USMCA agreement with Mexico and Canada is a win for American producers, and having an agreement in place will safeguard the traditional second largest importer of U.S. sorghum," said National Sorghum Producers Chairman Dan Atkisson, a sorghum farmer from Stockton, Kansas. "We look forward to expanded market opportunities with Mexico, and urge Congress to pass the measure as soon as possible."

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