Meat+Poultry - August 2020 - 14

WA S H I N G T O N

USMCA - at last
The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement
(USMCA) officially came into force
July 1 after two years of negotiations
and another year of securing federal
lawmakers' support for the trade
pact. Robert Lighthizer, US Trade
Representative, heralded the start "...
of a new and better chapter for trade
between the United States, Mexico
and Canada."
President Donald Trump signed the
USMCA into law in January. Canada
approved the trade agreement March
13, and Mexico passed it in June 2019.
"USMCA locks in and expands
access to our neighbors to the North
and South," said US Secretary Sonny
Perdue in March when Canada passed
the agreement. "We will continue to
work with both Canada and Mexico in
implementing this agreement."
The modified free trade agreement
replaces the North American Free
Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that has
governed trade in the region for more
than 20 years. The updated framework
of USMCA is, however, thought to
improve upon shortcomings of NAFTA.
"The USMCA contains significant
improvements and modernized
approaches that will deliver more
jobs, stronger worker protections,
expanded market access, and greater
opportunities to trade for companies

large and small," Lighthizer said.
long-term viability of that market.
"We have worked closely with the
Since NAFTA came into force in
governments of Mexico and Canada
1994, exports of US beef to Canada and
to ensure that the obligations and
Mexico grew from $656 million to more
responsibilities of all three nations
than $1.75 billion in 2019, while
under the agreement have been
pork exports increased in
met, and we will continue to
value from $322 million
Mexico and
do so to ensure the USMCA
to more than $2 billion
Canada are
is enforced."
during that same time
among the top four
The FTA also opens
period, NAMI said.
destinations for US
Canadian markets to
Additionally, Canada
beef and pork.
American dairy producers,
and Mexico imported
imposes stricter labor
nearly 22% of total US
requirements in Mexico and
beef exports and 30% of all
provides incentives for manufacturing
US pork exports in 2019.
products in North America. USMCA
Challenges to the agreement
retains zero tariffs on most of the
include enforcing provisions that
agricultural trade between the
strengthen worker protections and
three nations and ensures access to
ensuring commitments to enhanced
important markets for US meat and
market access to agriculture products
poultry products.
are kept. Complicating this work is the
"The US meat and poultry industry
coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
exports $5.5 billion annually in
But Lighthizer said the pandemic
products to Canada and Mexico," said
only highlighted the importance of
Julie Anna Potts, chief executive officer the USMCA.
of the North American Meat Institute
"The recovery from the COVID-19
(NAMI). "This agreement is critical to
pandemic demonstrates that now, more
meat and poultry processors and the
than ever, the United States must stop
millions of US farmers, ranchers, allied
the outsourcing of jobs and increase
manufacturers and transportation
our manufacturing capacity and
companies in the food supply chain."
investment here at home," Lighthizer
Mexico and Canada are among the
said. "With the USMCA's entry into
top four destinations for US beef and
force, we take another giant step
pork. The North American market for
forward in reaching this goal and
the meat and poultry industry is nearly
advancing President Trump's vision
completely integrated, NAMI said,
for pro-worker trade policies."
and this integration is essential to the
E R I C A S H A FFE R | e s h a f f e r @s o s l a n d.c o m

- JULIE ANNA POTTS

14

MEAT+ POULTRY | 08.20 | www.meatpoultry.com

Gary Blakeley/Shutterstock.com

"The US meat and poultry industry
exports $5.5 billion annually in
products to Canada and Mexico."


http://www.meatpoultry.com

Meat+Poultry - August 2020

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Meat+Poultry - August 2020 - VDG - 1
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