Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi announced on Dec. 10 that the White House and Congress had come to an agreement on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
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“USMCA is a big win for American workers and the economy, especially for our farmers and ranchers,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in a statement. “The agreement improves virtually every component of the old NAFTA, and the agriculture industry stands to gain significantly,” said Perdue, noting that the agreement awaits passage by the House and Senate.
The National Farmers Union Board of Directors, however, has called for improvements to the agreement before final passage.
“The free trade framework established by NAFTA has dominated our international trade deals over the past two-and-a-half decades, to the detriment of American workers — it has contributed to the movement of rural manufacturing jobs overseas, caused our national deficit to balloon, lowered wages and eroded national sovereignty,” said National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson in a statement. “Though we are encouraged by efforts to reform this framework, earlier drafts of USMCA did not go far enough to protect family farmers and rural communities.”
USMCA will advance United States agricultural interests in two of the most important markets for American farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses, according to the USDA. If passed, the agreement would expand U.S. food and agricultural exports and support food processing and rural jobs.
Canada and Mexico are the largest export markets for U.S. food and ag products, totaling more than $39.7 billion food and agricultural exports in 2018, according to the USDA. These exports support more than 325,000 American jobs.
All food and agricultural products that have zero tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will remain at zero tariffs. Since the original NAFTA did not eliminate all tariffs on agricultural trade between the United States and Canada, the USMCA will create new market access opportunities for United States exports to Canada of dairy, poultry, and eggs and in exchange the U.S. will provide new access to Canada for some dairy, peanut and limited sugar products.
Earlier this year, nearly 1,000 American food and agriculture associations and companies announced their support for USMCA . A key provision in the agreement is increasing dairy market access. America’s dairy farmers would have expanded market opportunities in Canada for a wide variety of dairy products. Canada agreed to eliminate the Class 6 and 7 milk pricing programs that allowed Canadian farmers to undersell U.S. producers.

Kraft Heinz Co. has voluntarily recalled approximately 83,800 cases of American processed cheese slices.

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