On January 29th, President Trump signed the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), marking a major milestone for trade among these three close neighbors.
The USMCA is a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement. The trade deal was finalized at the beginning of December 2019, and passed the Senate on January 17th. Now, the agreement has been signed by President Trump.
"Clear roadmap for the future"
United Fresh Produce Association President and CEO Tom Stenzel applauds the new agreement and is pleased that it has now been signed by the president. Stenzel released the following statement:
"Passing a bipartisan trade agreement in 2020 with the United States’ two largest trading partners is a critically important trade policy development. And, by modernizing and building upon the NAFTA agreement, our three countries have shown a commitment to free and fair trade that provides certainty to companies doing business across our borders."
"For agriculture, generally, and our fresh produce industry specifically, the agreement does not make everyone universally happy. Are there competitive issues in produce that won’t go away? You bet! But USMCA demonstrates a commitment to consumers in all three countries to allow our free enterprise system to work its magic, providing access to goods and services that consumers want. We do not want artificial trade barriers that government installs, nor tariffs and regulations that skew the balance between market demand and market supply. USMCA provides a clear roadmap that brings certainty to growers, buyers and consumers across our supply chain."
"Despite the challenges in finding consensus on trade policy, imports and exports are critical to both producers and consumers in all three countries. We now have an agreement that will serve producers and consumers in all three markets, as well as allied trading partners across the globe. The future of our industry in North America is bright."
Apple exports will be strengthened
“Locking in our two largest export markets is a sorely-needed win for apple growers across the U.S. The USMCA is significant for the U.S. Apple Association and its members as Mexico and Canada represent our top two export markets, totaling nearly a half-billion dollars annually toward a positive balance of trade. Canada, Mexico and the United States combine to make up the most competitive and successful regional economic platform in the world. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, the predecessor to USMCA, apple exports to Mexico quadrupled and those to Canada doubled. We look forward to strong, healthy trading partnerships with Mexico and Canada in the years to come,” says Jim Bair, the President and CEO of the U.S. Apple Association.
Economic stability for almond industry
Canada and Mexico are key countries for the California almond industry and Blue Diamond® with an export value of $256 million. As the almond crop continues to increase, ensuring market access and trade opportunities is essential for the economic stability of the industry. Free trade agreements like the USMCA provide the continued growth and equal playing field needed for Blue Diamond and the California almond industry to thrive.
"The USMCA represents a renewal and modernization of a decades-long partnership between Canada, Mexico and the United States," said Mark Jansen, President and CEO for Blue Diamond Growers. "This agreement will stimulate additional opportunities within these markets and provide further stability for our grower-owners."
Positive outlook for potato industry
Below is a video of Kam Quarles, the CEO of the National Potato Council, who attended the signing of the USMCA: