Farm Bureau: U.S. farmers got good deal in USMCA

Monday, February 3, 2020
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

farmer plowingAmerican Farm Bureau Federation is praising a trade agreement for the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, as an improvement over the venerable NAFTA.

"USMCA, quite frankly, is an upgrade on NAFTA," John Newton, chief economist for Farm Bureau, tells OneNewsNow.

USMCA, signed by President Trump last week, was predictably scrutinized and criticized for renegotiating everything from automobile parts to vegetables nearly three decades after President Clinton signed NAFTA into law.

Farm Bureau, an influential lobbying group, was involved in the negotiations, too, such as rules under NAFTA that downgraded U.S. wheat to “feed quality wheat” when it entered Canada.

“And that ends under USMCA," Newton reports.

U.S. dairy farmers have famously faced challenges from Canada’s quota rules, which severely limited the market for milk from American cows, but USMCA creates “new market access opportunities” for those farmers according to the U.S. Trade Representative Office.

JD combines harvesting cornAccording to Newton, the U.S. successfully pushed for new rules that give dairy farmers market access to approximately four percent of the Canadian market, which is viewed as a victory after farmers have fought for access for so long. 

According to the Trade Representative Office, American agricultural goods headed to Canada include dairy, poultry, and eggs, and Canada gets new access in the U.S. for dairy, peanuts, and sugar under USMCA. 

Newton says there are challenges going forward, such as cheap labor in Mexico.

“And that creates some unique challenges with some of our agricultural products that are very labor intensive like fruits and vegetables," he says.

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