(Washington, D.C., January 16, 2020) - U.S.
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after
the Senate passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by a bipartisan
vote of 89 – 10.
“We’ve long waited for this day and now USMCA will finally
head to the President’s desk,” Secretary Perdue said. “The passage of USMCA
is great news for America’s farmers and ranchers. 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. I thank President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for
successfully delivering an improved and modern trade agreement and working
so hard for the people of American agriculture to get this deal across the
USMCA will advance United States agricultural interests in
two of the most important markets for American farmers, ranchers, and
agribusinesses. This high-standard agreement builds upon our existing
markets to expand United States food and agricultural exports and support
food processing and rural jobs.
Canada and Mexico are our first and second largest export
markets for United States food and agricultural products, totaling more
than $39.7 billion food and agricultural exports in 2018. These exports
support more than 325,000 American jobs.
All food and agricultural products that have zero tariffs
under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will remain at zero
tariffs. Since the original NAFTA did not eliminate all tariffs on
agricultural trade between the United States and Canada, the USMCA will
create new market access opportunities for United States exports to Canada
of dairy, poultry, and eggs, and in exchange the United States will provide
new access to Canada for some dairy, peanut, and a limited amount of sugar
and sugar-containing products.
Earlier this year, nearly 1,000
American food and agriculture associations and companies announced
their support for USMCA and the National Association of State Departments
of Agriculture signed a
letter to Congressional leadership urging them
to ratify USMCA.
In September, all former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture
since President Reagan’s Administration announced support for USMCA. In a letter
to Congressional leaders, former Secretaries John Block (Reagan),
Mike Espy (Clinton), Dan Glickman (Clinton), Ann Veneman (W. Bush), Mike
Johanns (W. Bush), Ed Shafer (W. Bush), and Tom Vilsack (Obama) underscored
the importance of passing USMCA saying, “We need a strong and reliable
trade deal with our top two customers for U.S. agriculture products. USMCA
will provide certainty in the North American market for the U.S. farm
sector and rural economy. We strongly support ratification of USMCA.”
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.