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Minnesota Ag Leaders Hopeful of USMCA
Minnesota Ag Connection - 07/02/2020

Minnesota Farm Bureau was pleased to see the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) go into effect Wednesday, especially as farmers and ranchers continue to face financial challenges due to COVID-19 losses and a depressed agricultural economy.

"Minnesota farmers and ranchers depend on a reliable trading relationship with our two closest neighbors," said Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Paap. "We're excited for the opportunity to build on the success of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and we're eager to see the results on Minnesota farms."

Not only does USMCA include, for the first time, measures that address cooperation, transparency, information sharing, agricultural biotechnology and gene editing, and science-based trading standards to prevent trade barriers, but it is also expected to provide a much needed $2 billion annual increase in U.S. agricultural exports and overall increase of $65 billion in gross domestic product.

"We are grateful for the leadership shown by the Minnesota Congressional delegation and the Administration to get this trade agreement across the finish line," said MFBF President Paap. "This will bring much needed certainty and hope to farmers, ranchers and rural Minnesota during a very challenging year."

U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said that she expects USMCA) to add much-needed trade certainty for Minnesota farmers, businesses, and consumers who have weathered years of uncertain trade policies and are facing a challenging coronavirus pandemic.

Smith., a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, who helped secure key improvements to the bipartisan agreement, including strengthened protections for workers and improved access to affordable medicines, also pushed to ensure it will open new markets for U.S. dairy exports and will end unfair Canadian milk pricing rules that hurt farmers in Minnesota and across the country. Beyond that, she also joined a bipartisan group of Senators in pressing Canada to open its markets to U.S. grain.

As the agreement is implemented, she said she will push Trump Administration trade officials to monitor the dairy provisions in the agreement to ensure Canada lives up to its commitments.

"I backed passage of this trade agreement, which passed with bipartisan support, because I expect it to lift up workers, businesses, farmers, and consumers," said Smith. "Trade affects almost every aspect of Minnesota's diverse economy. This agreement will provide important stability and market access for Minnesota agriculture, as well as for other Minnesota products. Now, I will push to ensure Canada and Mexico live up to their commitments so that the United States gets the full benefit of this agreement."

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