MONTGOMERY, Ala., Jan. 16 — For the second time in as many days, Alabama farmers received good news on the trade front as the U.S. Senate approved the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by a vote of 89-10.
Passage of the deal, which replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), comes on the heels of President Donald J. Trump signing the first phase of a China trade agreement Wednesday. The USMCA legislation passed the House of Representatives last month by a 385-41 vote. It now goes to President Trump for his signature.
“Canada and Mexico now rank as our two largest export markets, accounting for more than $40 billion in value,” said Alabama Farmers Federation Governmental and Agricultural Programs Department Assistant Director Mitt Walker. “Exports to these two countries support about 900,000 American jobs in the food, agriculture and related sectors of the economy. This agreement not only preserves our partnership with these neighbors but will also be a catalyst for securing stronger trade deals with other countries around the world.”
The USMCA will provide new market access for dairy and poultry products and will result in fair grading standards for U.S. wheat exported to Canada, according to Walker. The deal also addresses agricultural biotechnology to support 21st century innovations, including new technologies such as gene editing.
“We believe passage of USMCA will result in even more marketing opportunities for Alabama farmers around the globe,” Walker said.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall also praised passage of the agreement.
“Today’s passage of USMCA is great news for America’s farmers and ranchers,” he said. “We commend President Trump, the House and the Senate for working together in a bipartisan manner to enhance these important trade relationships and help jumpstart our ag economy.”
Trump is set to speak at the AFBF Annual Convention for the third year in a row on Sunday.