For Northwest commodities, the reaction to USMCA has been mixed. One crop that’s pulling for the updated NAFTA to pass, the wheat, but not for the reason you may think. Michelle Hennings, Executive Director of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers, said while Japan and the Philippians are the top two destinations for Northwest wheat, USMCA is vital for the wheat sector, and Ag as a whole.
“That is a stepping stone for all of our other trade agreements, and we want to make sure the United States is selling wheat to our #1 [overall] buyer. So, it’s important when we’re trying to get a trade deal with Japan or anyone else, it’s important that they can see we can actually make trade deals with our neighbors.”
While lawmakers did not vote on USMCA before the August recess, Hennings said she is encouraged. The concerns democrats have with USMCA, including Washington’s Maria Cantwell, are very well documented. And while those demands have not changed, she said it appears some attitude have changed.
“But I did hear quite a few comments that were positive about Mr. Lighthizer. And last time I was in D.C., I didn’t hear that. He’s been on the Hill working with Congress to try to work out their issues with USMCA.”
Hennings recently returned from a trip to D.C. where she met with lawmakers and Washington Ag was featured.
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