Trade agreements in various stages of flux

Representatives from the United States and China got back to the negotiating table in January during a temporary tariff ceasefire between the two countries. China also slowly started to buy more soybeans from American farmers at the end of 2018. At press time the two countries were still negotiating a resolution to the ongoing trade dispute.

In other trade news, the new North American trade agreement (the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) was signed by all three countries at the end of November. Congress must put its stamp of approval on the new agreement in order for it to be implemented.

“Recognizing that every year roughly $40 billion in agricultural products leave the United States and make their way to Canada and Mexico, protecting a strong trade relationship with these nations is critical,” said Jack Irvin, OFBF senior director of state and national affairs. “Farm Bureau will continue to push for market and trade access with everyone from our immediate neighbors to countries around the world, focused on opening doors to better promote long-term opportunities for our farm families.”

USMCA includes:

•    New market access for dairy and poultry products in Canada while maintaining the zero-tariff platform on all other ag products and on all ag products to Mexico.
•    Agreement from Canada to end its Class 7 pricing scheme.
•    U.S. dairy products gain access to an additional 3.6 percent of Canada’s dairy market.
•    Canada agreed to treat wheat imports the same as domestic wheat for grading and pricing, and Mexico and the U.S. agreed that all grading standards for ag products will be non-discriminatory.
•    This is the first free trade agreement for the U.S. that includes measures that address cooperation, information sharing and other trade rules related to biotechnology and gene editing.
•    There also are provisions that enhance science-based trading standards among the three nations as the basis for sanitary and phytosanitary measures for ag products, as well as progress in the area of geographic indications.