President Donald Trump, along with his counterparts in Canada and Mexico, have signed the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The three countries signed the deal Friday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the G-20 Summit.
The trade agreement replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and has been met with praise among ag industry leaders. Existing tariffs on steel and aluminum aren’t addressed in the deal, and the U.S. still has to deal with ongoing trade tensions with China — which has reacted to U.S.-imposed tariffs on its exports with tariffs of its own, including on soybeans and other ag commodities.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue applauded the deal’s signing and urged Congress to follow suit and approve the necessary legislation that would bring the USMCA into effect.
“The new USMCA makes important specific changes that are beneficial to our agricultural producers,” said Perdue. “We have secured greater access to the Mexican and Canadian markets and lowered barriers for many of our products.
“The deal eliminates Canada’s unfair Class 6 and Class 7 milk pricing schemes, opens additional access to U.S. dairy into Canada, and imposes new disciplines on Canada’s supply management system.”
The Assn. of Equipment Manufacturers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday. However, Dennis Slater, president of AEM, earlier this year called the deal a “step in the right direction.”
“Trade agreements provide better access to customers across the globe and help us add to the 1.3 million jobs our industry supports in the United States. We urge this administration to continue working closely with the Canadian and Mexican governments to enact policies that promote continued economic growth for our industry,” he said.
Vernon Schmidt, executive vice president of the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Assn., said the signing of the new agreement shows “important progress on one of many trade issues affecting association members.”
“The USMCA stands to offer American dairy, poultry, and wheat farmers greater access to Canadian and Mexican markets, which of course stands to influence those producers' needs and capacity to buy shortline equipment.” Schmidt added that FEMA is urging Congress to not delay the deal when approving related legislation.
Lynn Chrisp, president of the National Crown Growers Assn., said, “U.S. corn farmers are proud of the strong trading relationships NAFTA has enabled us to build with our North American trading partners, exporting more than $3 billion of corn and corn products to Mexico and Canada last year. Today’s signing is an important step toward cementing a modernized relationship with these important partners.”