WASHINGTON – Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, issued the following statement with regard to the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“President Trump has fulfilled another of his promises in renegotiating our trade relationship with Canada and Mexico—two of Iowa’s major trade partners.  The USMCA is a good step for Iowa farmers and manufacturers, and I look forward to working with my colleagues as we consider this important agreement,” said Senator Ernst.

Background:

On October 1, 2018, the Trump Administration announced the USMCA, a renegotiation of the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Today, in Argentina, U.S. President Donald Trump, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the agreement.  The USMCA now heads to Congress. 

The new trade agreement modernizes provisions and seeks to rebalance the countries’ trade to better serve the interests of American farmers, workers and businesses.  However, the USMCA does not eliminate the steel and aluminum tariffs in place with Canada and Mexico, something that is significantly impacting Iowa’s farmers, especially the state’s pork producers.

Specific to agriculture:

  • Food and agriculture will trade more fairly, including dairy: Canada will eliminate its “Class 6” and “Class 7” programs that allow low-priced dairy ingredients to undersell U.S. dairy products in Canada and in third country markets. 
  • U.S. farmers will have new access to Canadian agriculture markets: Canada will provide important new access for U.S. dairy products, eggs and poultry.
  • New standards will protect agriculture trade: The new agreement sets unprecedented standards for agricultural biotechnology, establishes protections to reduce intellectual property theft and ensures data can be safely transmitted across border lines.