The trade deal, designed to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), had been signed off last year however several elements were renegotiated. The USMCA agreement now needs approval by legislatures in the US, Mexico and Canada before it can be implemented, something the meat industry has urged swift action on.
US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to celebrate the deal’s progress.
America’s great USMCA Trade Bill is looking good. It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody - Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions - tremendous support. Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 10 December 2019
The US meat industry welcomed the progress but urged further movement.
“We are pleased with the agreement reached between the Trump Administration and House Leadership allowing Congress to consider USMCA before the holidays,” said North American Meat Institute president and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “The US meat and poultry industry exports $5.5bn annually in products to Canada and Mexico. Swift adoption of this agreement is critical to meat and poultry processors and the millions of US farmers, ranchers, allied manufacturers and transportation companies in the food supply chain.”
Trade bodies representing producers in the US also urged swift progress.
National Pork Producers Council president David Herring said: “Mexico’s approval of USMCA changes proposed by the United States is welcome news for U.S. pork producers and all of American agriculture. Members of Congress can count on hearing, yet again, from pork producers as NPPC is unleashing a grassroots call to action. We want a vote this year and NPPC will score this critically important trade agreement as a key vote.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president Jennifer Houston said: “There is no higher policy priority for America's beef producers than maintaining our duty-free access to Canada and Mexico, and that's exactly what the USMCA will do. The Trump Administration and Speaker Pelosi deserve credit for working together to get this deal done, and now is the time for Congress to approve USMCA so our producers can move forward with the certainty they need and deserve.”
The National Chicken Council president Mike Brown added: “USMCA will maintain and improve market access for US chicken in our top two markets in terms of value, Mexico and Canada. It will also positively impact both the US agriculture sector and the broader national economy.
“On behalf of America’s chicken producers, I want to thank President Trump for his leadership and for the tireless work of the administration, including Agriculture Secretary Perdue and US Trade Representative Lighthizer. After a year of negotiations, the time to act is now. We encourage swift Congressional consideration and passage of USMCA before Christmas.”