On Thursday, the House overwhelmingly passed implementing legislation for USMCA, sending the trade agreement to the Senate. The vote came following a delay of more than a year to make changes and reach an agreement between House Democrats and the Trump administration. On the House Floor, Central Washington’s Dan Newhouse said the vote was great news for the state’s economy.
“Exports to Canada and Mexico totaled $11.3 billion in 2018, and trade related jobs amount to nearly 40% of all jobs in the state. I’ve heard from farmers, ranchers, and manufactures in every county of Central Washington and they all agree. Today’s vote to pass USMCA is exactly what we need.”
Newhouse added the updated NAFTA will be a huge boost to the iconic apple industry, and the rest of Washington Ag.
“The USMCA goes event further to advance access for the U.S. dairy and wine industries. Two substantial drivers for Washington’s economy.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the USMCA voted on Thursday is “Light years” ahead of the original USMCA, on labor, environment, medicines and enforcement.
“If the president wants to take credit, so be it,” the Speaker said “That would not stand in the way of our passing it. However, I do want to point out some of the distance we have come from the president’s original product.”
Eastern Washington’s Cathy McMorris Rodgers added this vote was sorely needed for the Evergreen state.
“Washington is one of the most trade-dependent states in the nation. 90% of the wheat grown in Eastern Washington every year is exported outside of the U.S., and without open markets, our farmers are at a disadvantage,” McMorris Rodgers said. “I’m grateful for President Trump’s leadership to negotiate a new and improved NAFTA. Passage of USMCA has been delayed long enough, and I was proud to vote in favor of this agreement today. Let’s get USMCA signed into law so the Trump administration can continue negotiating new trade agreements that put American farmers, producers, and manufacturers first.”
Other reaction from the agriculture community includes:
“Farm Bureau commends the House for approving the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. It was a bipartisan effort as shown by the overwhelming 385 to 41 vote, and we appreciate the work of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle in getting this deal done,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duval. “This trade agreement could not come at a more critical time for U.S. agriculture. Farmers and ranchers have been hit with a perfect storm of low commodity prices, weather disasters, trade disruptions and a severe downturn in the farm economy. The USMCA will provide continuity in the growth of the North American market and will strengthen our trading relationships with Canada and Mexico, which are our number-one and number-two export markets, respectively.
“Agriculture desperately needed a win for economic recovery, and passing the USMCA was that win,” said National Association of Wheat Growers President and Lavon, TX, farmer Ben Scholz. “NAWG applauds those Members of Congress for their support and hard work to advance this critical trade deal one step closer to the finish line. We encourage the Senate to follow its lead and pass this deal early in the New Year.”
“The U.S. Apple Association applauds today’s House approval of USMCA, as Mexico and Canada represent our top two export markets, totaling nearly a half-billion dollars in annual sales,” said USApple President and CEO Jim Bair.“Growing apples is a risky business and locking in our largest markets adds certainty for the long haul. It lets U.S. growers get back to doing what they do best – producing superior quality apples in a volume and range of varieties not available anywhere else.
Ag groups are now calling on the Senate to “finish the job” and pass USMCA as soon as possible. Senate leadership has already announced a USMCA vote will not take place until after the New Year.
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