With the announcement of a new trade pact among the United States, Mexico and Canada, we welcomed the tremendous news that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be, if approved by Congress, replaced by a much stronger agreement. Known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the package will be important for American workers and our economy as a whole, including the agricultural sector, which counts Mexico and Canada in our top three trading partners.

Under USMCA, we have created new rules to help our farmers, ranchers and workers better face the challenges of the 21st century economy, which will secure greater access to the Mexican and Canadian markets and maintain and improve the highly productive integrated agricultural relationships we have as nations.

The agreement with Mexico came first, near the end of August, and includes a number of provisions sought by the United States. Importantly, 21st century innovations in agricultural biotechnology are addressed for the first time, including cutting-edge processes like gene editing. These innovations serve as a template for agreements in the future. And we mutually pledge to work together to reduce trade-distorting policies, increase transparency and ensure nondiscriminatory treatment in grading of agricultural products.

Notably, as one of the president’s top goals, the new agreement will eliminate Canada’s unfair “Class 6” and “Class 7” milk pricing schemes, in which Canada has used low-priced products to undercut United States dairy sales in Canada and other international markets. The deal will also crack open additional access to United States dairy into Canada, including products like fluid milk, cream, butter, skim milk and cheese, and will also preserve and expand critical access for United States poultry and egg producers. America’s wheat farmers also get a big win. A reform of Canada’s discriminatory wheat grading process will help United States wheat growers along the border become more competitive. These are all significant victories for American agriculture.

The newly minted USMCA goes in the win column for President Trump and his negotiating team, led by our United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. Our economy, and American agriculture, will be better off for it.

Source: USDA press release