Farm organizations, politicians praise advancement of USMCA

Some good news finally made its way to the ag sector Tuesday with the announcement that the trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico (USMCA)will finally get a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

That news comes on the heels of Japanese approval of a trade agreement that will particularly benefit Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers. Tariffs of U.S. beef will eventually fall to 9%. Tariffs on pork, corn, wheat, and other Nebraska-grown crops will also significantly decrease.

Gov. Pete Ricketts said the Japanese deal will help boost the state’s exports of farm commodities. 

On Tuesday, Ricketts hailed the announcement on the USMCA. “Approval of this trade agreement will expand opportunities for Nebraska’s farm families, and we look forward to its final approval.”

Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson said it’s time farmers and ranchers got some good news. 

“This is a crucial step forward in bringing long-term stability to Nebraska agriculture markets with two of Nebraska’s most important trading partners,” he said. Canada is No. 1 and Mexico is No. 2.

The agreement must be approved in both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. It’s expected the House could vote on the measure before the Christmas break. The Senate will likely act on the agreement after returning from the Christmas break. 

Getting a vote on the agreement has been one of President Trump’s top priorities.

The measure has been held up in the Democratically-controlled House as they pushed for additional concessions on labor that Mexico has now enacted into law. 

In typical political fashion, each side was claiming a victory.

“We ate their lunch,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her Democratic colleagues in a closed-door meeting. But Vice President Mike Pence said Democrats “have finally acquiesced” in allowing a vote.

(Staff and Associated Press reports were used to compile this story.)


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