Trade still on the front burner, but it’s a slow burn

Ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement remains a top priority of the Trump administration, and it is top of mind of trade-war-weary farmers and everyone involved in the agriculture industry.

USMCA, the renegotiated trade deal between the three North American neighbors, was signed late last year, but it needs to be approved by each country’s legislative body. That hasn’t happened in the U.S. yet, and more than 200 leaders in the business community — including Farm Bureau — are lobbying Congress hard to make it happen sooner rather than later.

“Not only does USMCA help lock in the quadrupling of U.S. agricultural exports to our neighbors accomplished over the last 25 years, but it also includes reform of a number of trade rules and is projected to further increase our exports to two of our most important markets,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a recent opinion piece published by The Hill.

American Farm Bureau is a leader of the newly formed USMCA Coalition launched in late February. The coalition of businesses also has the support of organizations representing manufacturers, technology companies and other industries in the U.S. that would benefit from established and enhanced trade relationships with Canada and Mexico.

“USMCA highlights the importance of trade and protects agriculture,” said Jack Irvin, Ohio Farm Bureau senior director of state and national policy. “Efficient ratification of USMCA clears the deck with our neighbors and allows us to focus on continuing to look at trade opportunities with other countries.”

The administration also was still in negotiations with China and the European Union in March. It was reported in early March that the U.S. trade gap with China rose to $419.2 billion in 2018, up from the previous record of $375.5 billion in 2017, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Ohio Farm Bureau membership