Industry Members Comment on USMCA Passage
WASHINGTON, DC - On January 16, we received news that the United States Senate voted to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by an 89-10 vote. The agreement will now go to President Donald Trump for his final approval before officially replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement that’s currently in place and enhance the movement of food products between the countries. Along with the passage, several leaders in the industry voiced their approval and urge the President to sign the final document.
“This agreement is a positive for consumers who will continue to enjoy year-round access to healthful fruits and vegetables,” said Fresh Produce Association of the Americas’ President Lance Jungmeyer in a press release. “Once put in place, the USMCA will continue to strengthen U.S. businesses and trade in North America.”
The FPAA has been working with a broad coalition of companies and industry groups to actively meet with Members of Congress urging them to formally pass the USMCA implementing language. Once the agreement is officially passed, the association will continue to work with Congress to implement policies that would benefit the trade between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
“Consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables has risen precisely because we have a beneficial relationship with Mexico, which has bountiful sunshine and microclimates for growing a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, from avocados to zucchini,” Jungmeyer said. “The USMCA is a win for U.S. consumers and U.S. businesses.”
According to the press release, the FPAA is grateful for the efforts of Members of Congress from Arizona, California, and Texas to stand up for U.S. consumers and businesses who would be negatively impacted if a so-called “seasonal produce provision” were inserted in the USMCA.
Also voicing his approval is United Fresh Produce Association’s President and CEO Tom Stenzel, stating that Canada and Mexico are the two largest markets for fresh produce, and their importance to American agriculture cannot be overstated.
“The produce industry is one of the cornerstones of the original NAFTA agreement, and its continued success is vital for the economic well-being of all three countries. The USMCA includes important reforms that will ensure that the success of NAFTA will continue well into the 21st Century,” stated Stenzel in a press release. “The fresh produce industry is eager for the passage and implementation of the USMCA to ensure that the growth of trade over the last quarter-century is sustained and that we build upon the investments made by businesses in all three countries.”
Stenzel further continued, “This agreement is most important as we continue to meet the demands from consumers for increased availability of healthy fresh fruits and vegetables. Finally, we believe this new trade agreement will strengthen our partnership between the three countries and provide essential cooperation in the fresh fruit and vegetable industry.”
The California Fresh Fruit Association’s President Ian LeMay echoes Stenzel’s sentiment. According to CFFA’s press release, the association believes this new agreement will benefit California farmers by improving market access in Mexico and Canada.
“Mexico and Canada have been vital trade partners over the years for our growers and shippers, and the passage of USMCA out of the Senate today comes to the delight of the California fresh fruit industry,” commented LeMay. “Our members look forward to continuing to provide the freshest fruit to consumers around the world.”
The Association applauds the work of the Administration and the California delegation for their support of USMCA.
In our neighbor up north, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association urges Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take swift action to ratify their own agreement known as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). According to the press release for CPMA, President Ron Lemaire sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, calling for Canada to follow with its own timely ratification process.
“Since the implementation of the previous NAFTA in 1994, Canadian fresh fruit and vegetable exports to Mexico and the U.S. have increased by approximately 396 percent,” wrote Lemaire. “This growth is indicative of the importance of tariff-free trade and the integration of our marketplace within North America and within the fresh produce industry.”
CPMA also noted that the integrated North American produce supply chain is an important tool in ensuring that Canadian consumers have a consistent and diverse supply of fresh fruit and vegetables year-round. Continued access to these products is essential to increasing domestic consumption and helping Canadians meet Canada’s Food Guide’s recommendation to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables.
“The previous NAFTA has been a tremendous success for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry,” concluded Lemaire. “We strongly urge the Government of Canada to take immediate action to ratify this Agreement to facilitate a strong fresh produce industry for generations to come.”
As we wait for the final approval, keep reading AndNowUKnow.