President Trump gets US-Mexico-Canada trade deal to sign

 (AP graphic)
(AP graphic) (KOTA)
Published: Jan. 16, 2020 at 10:42 AM MST
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The Senate passes the US-Mexico-Canada trade deal, giving President Donald Trump his second economic win in two days.

With Senate passage the measure now goes to Trump for his signature.

“The U.S. economy continues to do well, including the most recent jobs report announcing more than 140,000 new jobs were created in December,” South Dakota Senator John Thune said.

Still, the senator has some caution with the celebration.

“One industry that remains behind is agriculture,” he said. “We must be able to expand our economic growth to the farmers and ranchers who need it most. This trade agreement will boost almost every sector of the American economy — creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and increasing wages for workers.”

USMCA replaces the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump and other critics claimed NAFTA was the catalyst for American companies to move manufacturing to Mexico because labor costs were cheaper than in the U.S.

“With Congressional consideration now complete, our farmers and ranchers are eager to see the President sign this legislation and begin reaping the benefits of this critical agreement,” Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said.

The Department of Agriculture states that USMCA will help farmers and ranchers with two of the country’s most important markets. Canada and Mexico are the country’s first and second largest export markets for food and agriculture products, account for close to $40 billion. That, USDA claims, supports more than 325,000 American jobs.

In the USMCA, all food and agricultural products that had zero tariffs under NAFTA will maintain that benefit. It also is supposed to increase market access for ag products.

Key Provision: Increasing Dairy Market Access

America’s dairy farmers will have expanded market opportunities in Canada for a wide variety of dairy products. Canada agreed to eliminate the unfair Class 6 and 7 milk pricing programs that allowed their farmers to undersell U.S. producers.

Key Provision: Biotechnology

For the first time, the agreement specifically addresses agricultural biotechnology – including new technologies such as gene editing – to support innovation and reduce trade-distorting policies.

Key Provision: Geographical Indications

The agreement institutes a more rigorous process for establishing geographical indicators and lays out additional factors to be considered in determining whether a term is a common name.

Key Provision: Sanitary/Phytosanitary Measures

The three countries agree to strengthen disciplines for science-based measures that protect human, animal, and plant health while improving the flow of trade.

Key Provision: Poultry and Eggs

U.S. poultry producers will have expanded access to Canada for chicken, turkey, and eggs.

Key Provision: Wheat

Canada agrees to terminate its discriminatory wheat grading system, enabling U.S. growers to be more competitive.

Key Provision: Wine and Spirits

The three countries agree to avoid technical barriers to trade through non-discrimination and transparency regarding sale, distribution, labeling, and certification of wine and distilled spirits.