Produce Industry Weighs in on Planned NAFTA Overhaul: USMCA
UNITED STATES, MEXICO, and CANADA - Late this Sunday, September 30th, a last minute agreement between Canada, the United States, and Mexico saw the three countries agree to work toward the ratification of a new trade agreement—effectively replacing the framework of NAFTA with an updated United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
A joint statement from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland noted that the USMCA would offer “workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth in our region.” The following day, our industry made itself heard, with important voices from throughout produce issuing statements on the new accord.
In one such statement, released the following day, Tom Stenzel, President & CEO of the United Fresh Produce Association, noted the group’s encouraged attitude and stressed the importance of continuing to work with Congress and our partners within the industry on important policy issues.
“United Fresh is encouraged by the news that a revised tri-lateral agreement has been reached between the United States, Mexico, and Canada,” Stenzel noted. “The strong relationships our members have established between these three countries have helped enable the growth of the fresh produce industry over the last quarter century. Coming on the heels of United Fresh’s annual Washington Conference and the inaugural Global Trade Forum in which this issue was front and center and where attendees heard directly from key U.S. negotiators, the announcement of this revised agreement highlights the importance of our continued engagement on key policy issues by those in the produce industry. United Fresh looks forward to working with Congress to achieve the swift approval of this new agreement.”
The Produce Coalition for NAFTA echoed Stenzel’s sentiments and expressed its commendation to the parties involved in the negotiation processes.
“On behalf of the Produce Coalition for NAFTA, we strongly commend the Trump Administration and the Trudeau Administration for reaching a significant agreement which will bring Canada into the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). We sincerely appreciate the hard work of Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo in helping to ensure that this agreement was reached. This modernized trilateral trade agreement will enhance U.S. agricultural exports and build on the success of the NAFTA agreement that was put in place in 1994. We commend U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland for reaching an agreement which re-affirms and builds on the commitment to open trade in agricultural products, including fresh produce. The USMCA is a significant victory not only for agriculture but for the U.S. economy and U.S. consumers. We look forward to working with House and Senate Members to ensure ratification of this significant new trade agreement.”
The CPMA, similarly, noted that it was looking forward to continuing collaborative efforts between industry and policy makers.
“CPMA looks forward to continued collaboration with Ministers Freeland and MacAulay on other key areas of trade which are focused on diversification and growth within the fresh produce industry,” said Ron Lemaire, CPMA President.
Les Mallard, CPMA Chair, also thanked Canadian lawmakers for working hard to reach an agreement that continues a collaborative environment between North American trading partners.
“CPMA has been active over the past 13 months to promote the ongoing free trading environment for our industry within North America,” said Mallard. “We are greatly appreciative of the hard work by Canadian negotiators to finalize the deal in a way that is not harmful to our sector.”
House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota issued the following statement.
“I am pleased to see the NAFTA renegotiation take one step closer to a possible conclusion, and I look forward to reviewing the agreement in full as Congress takes up its passage. Dairy and poultry are huge concerns for me, and I am encouraged with the access and provisions it appears we’ve secured in this agreement,” said Peterson. “While this agreement does not end Canada’s supply management policies, this agreement includes provisions that will help dairy farmers in Minnesota and nationwide with less trade distorting exports during the current downturn in the farm economy. I hope the administration will use the momentum from this NAFTA deal to make progress in bringing the trade war with China to a productive end.”
AndNowUKnow will continue to bring you updates as more news on the pending agreement comes forth.