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USMCA passes with strong bipartisan support

USMCA passes with strong bipartisan support

WASHINGTON—An updated trade deal has sharper teeth to help Virginia farmers bite into the North American market.

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement, an overhaul of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, breezed through the House of Representatives on Dec. 19 on a 385-41 vote. The Senate Finance Committee approved the agreement 23-3 in an executive session Jan. 7, followed by a landslide 89-10 Senate vote Jan. 16. President Trump is expected to sign the deal.

In a Jan. 19 address to those attending the 101st American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in Austin, Texas, Trump called the agreement a “historic deal,” adding, “If we want to stand up for America, we must stand up for American farmers.”

The agreement aims to secure greater market access for U.S. farmers, ranchers, workers and businesses. While agriculture generally has fared well under NAFTA, the Trump administration said the improvements afforded by USMCA will enable more fair food and agriculture trade.

The USMCA is structured to provide continuity in North American market growth, strengthen trading relationships with Canada and Mexico, and create new market access for American dairy and poultry products while preserving the zero-tariff platform on all other ag products.

“The USMCA not only locks in market opportunities previously developed with our North American neighbors but also builds on those trade relationships in several key areas,” said Ben Rowe, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation national affairs coordinator. “Dairy, poultry, eggs, and wheat are particular winners through USMCA, which will show real impact here in Virginia.”

Estimates indicate the U.S. will gain more than $2 billion in additional farm exports and $65 billion in gross domestic product once the agreement is ratified by all three countries.

"The Senate's passage of USMCA is an important step toward preserving the competitiveness of America’s farmers, strengthening our trade relationships in North America and setting an example for agreements with other important trading partners,” Rowe said.

Media: Contact Rowe at 804-290-1017.