Farm advocates urge Congress to pass USMCA


Photo Credit: W. Scott McGill

With Congress back in session last week, farm advocates traveled to Capitol Hill to urge lawmakers to pass the United States Mexico Canada Agreement.

“We need Congress to pass the USMCA trade agreement to bring certainty to our already positive trade relationship with our closest neighbors and build on that relationship with new opportunities and commitments,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president.

The event was organized by Farmers For Free Trade, and participants included farm organizations as well as House Agriculture Committee representatives.

“The benefits of the USMCA are clear,” Duvall explained. “Estimates indicate we will gain more than $2 billion in additional farm exports and $65 billion in gross domestic product once the agreement is in place.”

The USMCA, a successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement, is a top priority for the Trump administration, which is negotiating with key lawmakers to get the treaty passed. Virginia farmers are among those supporting it.

“With both Mexico and Canada moving to implement the trade deal, we have a rare opportunity to bring Congress together to support American agriculture,” said Ben Rowe, national affairs coordinator for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. He added that under NAFTA, agricultural exports from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico increased from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $39 billion in 2017.

“The USMCA not only locks in market opportunities previously developed with our North American neighbors, but also builds on those trade relationships in several key areas,” Rowe explained. The USMCA also “builds on the success of NAFTA and modernizes and updates that agreement with important provisions that support U.S. agriculture and drive American innovation and competitiveness.”

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