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Senate passes USMCA: Warner, Kaine comment on new trade deal

(© W. Scott McGill –

The United States Senate has passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trilateral trade deal that would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“USMCA is an important, bipartisan win for Virginia,” Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-Va., said in a joint statement released on Thursday. “Expanding access to Canadian agricultural markets will open up new opportunities for Virginia farmers. Holding Mexican companies to higher labor and environmental standards will help level the playing field for American workers and companies. And efforts to streamline and modernize cross-border shipments will help the thousands of Virginia companies that already export to Mexico and Canada. This bill will help local economies in all corners of Virginia, and we were proud to vote for its passage today.”

Last year, Virginia exported $4.3 billion  worth of goods to Canada and Mexico. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, one out of six Virginia manufacturing firms exports to Canada and Mexico. For these manufacturers, the USMCA would raise standards, improve transparency, and end anti-U.S. discrimination from Canada and Mexico—as well as prevent a $466 million increase in taxes due to tariffs.

The USMCA would also establish preferential market access for agricultural exporters. For dairy farmers, the trade agreement would expand market opportunities in Canada, and it would eliminate an unfair milk pricing program that long allowed Canadian farmers to undersell U.S. producers.

And for poultry producers, the USMCA would increase access to Canadian markets for chicken and eggs. According to a report from the U.S. International Trade Commission, U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico would grow by nearly 7 percent—and exports to Canada would grow by nearly 6 percent.

Organizations that have announced their support for USMCA include: Virginia Chamber of Commerce, United Steelworkers Local 8888, Virginia Poultry Federation, Farm Credit of the Virginias, Virginia Port Authority, Virginia Maritime Association, Virginia Cattlemen’s Association, Virginia Farm Bureau, Virginia State Dairymen’s Association, Virginia Pork Council, Volvo Trucks New River Valley plant, UPS, STIHL Inc. in Virginia Beach, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Eastman.

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