Tag Archives: USMCA

USMCA.  Higher grain numbers…did the Chinese numbers get faded out?  WASDE report.   Chinese production numbers corn & wheat were higher.  Final USDA Crop Progress report for 2019. Dollar traded lower.  Livestock…USDA cut in exports for beef & pork.  Chinese hog heard is starting to rebuild. Cattle markets & weights.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D., on Monday again continued his push to move on from the impeachment circus and ratify the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement and deliver thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of economic impact to Kansas.

Nearly one third of all American agricultural exports go to Canada and Mexico and the countries are also the top two export markets for America’s small and mid-sized businesses.

In a speech on the House floor, Rep. Marshall called for Speaker Pelosi to do real legislative work and bring the USMCA trade deal for consideration and passage. The historic agreement brings trade with Canada and Mexico into the 21st Century and was signed by all three countries on November 30, 2018, with implementation of the deal pending ratification by each country. Mexico has signed the agreement and Canada will ratify upon the U.S.’s ratification.

“We are on the verge of passing the USMCA trade deal, a deal that will mean millions of dollars in new market opportunities for Kansas agriculture goods, new customs and trade rules for our small businesses, and thousands of new jobs that will allow more goods and materials to be manufactured in the U.S.,” Rep. Marshall said. “With just two weeks remaining, the House has so far squandered the first session of the 116th Congress . . . The House has a chance to secure a victory for the American people. Let’s deliver a win for our economy and pass USMCA now.”

View Rep. Marshall’s entire floor speech on USMCA HERE.

Rep. Marshall also joined nearly 160 House colleagues in sending a letter to Speaker Pelosi calling for the USMCA’s passage. The Speaker has failed to act on the legislation, instead spending time and resources on partisan issues. The letter included the following text:

“Nearly every agriculture group in America has called on Congress to pass USMCA, which significantly improves trade relations with our two largest trading partners that together purchase about one-third of all U.S. agricultural exports …. Passing USMCA is a chance for the House to chalk up one critically important victory for the American people, and we urge you to seize this opportunity.“

You can read the entire letter HERE.

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken advocate for Nebraska agriculture and trade, issued the following statement regarding the agreement reached on the USMCA trade deal.

“It’s about dang time and it took a messy fight, but here’s the great news: we’ve earned a win for Nebraska farmers and ranchers. I’ve been working with the President for more than a year now, pushing Speaker Pelosi to get this done. I’m glad House Democrats have stopped stonewalling so we can let Nebraska keep feeding the world.”

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Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement regarding the imminent announcement of the completed United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA):

“Coming to an agreement on USMCA is a tremendous step forward, and I applaud President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for their diligent work in getting a beneficial trade deal for our nation. USMCA improves upon NAFTA and has been my top priority on the Ways and Means Committee. This trade agreement is great for Nebraska agriculture and I look forward to supporting it when it is considered by the House.”

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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced agreement on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):
“USMCA is a big win for American workers and the economy, especially for our farmers and ranchers. The agreement improves virtually every component of the old NAFTA, and the agriculture industry stands to gain significantly,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer are laying the foundation for a stronger farm economy through USMCA and I thank them for all their hard work and perseverance to get the agreement across the finish line. While I am very encouraged by today’s breakthrough, we must not lose sight – the House and Senate need to work diligently to pass USMCA by Christmas.”
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Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1) issued the following statement today regarding progress on the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, or USMCA.

“After months of negotiations, a tentative understanding has been reached that will hopefully enable passage of the United States, Mexico, and Canada trade agreement––the USMCA. This would be a great deal for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers, while ensuring the continuity of strong labor and environmental standards throughout the three-nation trading zone,” Fortenberry said.  “The deal is scheduled for a House vote next week. I will vote for it,” Fortenberry added.

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U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after the Trump administration and House Democrats reached an agreement on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):

“After much negotiation, I am pleased to hear that the Trump administration and House Democrats have reached a deal on USMCA. This is a major step toward finalizing this important trade agreement for Nebraska agriculture, businesses, and manufacturing. It is time for Congress to get this deal done and help bring certainty to our farmers and ranchers.”

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 U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies and member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies – released the following statement on the agreement reached between the White House and Congress regarding the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):

“I have long advocated for movement on USMCA, and I applaud the White House and Congress for reaching an agreement today and advancing this deal. Canada and Mexico are Kansas’ top two export markets, and over the last two years, I have heard directly from Kansans how vital a modern trade deal like USMCA would be for our farmers, ranchers and manufacturers to compete and succeed in the 21st Century economy. Now is the time to get USMCA across the finish line, and I urge the House to quickly bring USMCA up for a vote.”

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U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) released the following statement today after Speaker Pelosi’s announcement on the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“I am pleased that the USMCA is ready,” Rep. Axne said“I have long been an advocate for getting this agreement done so our farmers and manufacturers can have certainty in our two largest markets. Farmers have had a tough few years, with a harmful trade war, devastating weather and a RFS being undermined by the EPA. This agreement would provide certainty for farmers and producers by ending the threat of back and forth retaliatory tariffs that this administration has pursued. I am thankful that the House Working Group and U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer worked in good faith and negotiated a better deal for all Americans and did so before the year end.”

 

Rep. Axne has been a leader in calling for action on USMCA. In October, Rep. Axne spoke on the House floor and urged her colleagues to continue to work to finalize the agreement. Last Thursday, Rep. Axne sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer and called for action on the USMCA before the end of the year.

“Trade is fundamental to the state of Iowa,” Rep. Axne wrote. “Iowa ranks first in the nation in exports of corn, pork, feed and other grains, and is number two in soybeans. Last year alone Iowa exported $4.2 billion in goods to Canada, 30 percent of the state’s total exports, and $2.3 billion to Mexico. Overall, Iowa is the second largest agricultural exporting state in the country. Modernizing our trade agreement with our two closest neighbors is critical to ensuring market stability for Iowans.”

 

USMCA would modernize and build upon the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which went into effect in 1994. The three countries signed USMCA in November of 2018 and on May 30, 2019 the administration submitted the text of the agreement to Congress. Speaker Pelosi then convened the House Working Group to review the text and negotiate with Ambassador Ligthizer over final provisions. Rep. Axne raised concerns about the provisions dealing with labor enforcement mechanisms and intellectual property rights for pharmaceuticals. She remained committed to ensuring the final deal would improve upon labor protections and enforcements from NAFTA.

“The enhanced labor protections in the USMCA is good news for Iowa workers. If we didn’t work so hard to get this right, we would continue to see Iowa workers undermined and our American-made products undercut. This is an improvement that will benefit Iowa workers and keep our middle class strong ” Axne said. “I am also glad that the biologics title was removed so Iowa families will not face higher costs for certain pharmaceuticals.”

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House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway released the following statement upon news of a deal on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement:

“Today’s announcement of a deal on USMCA is news America’s farmers and ranchers have been waiting over a year for. I appreciate the work of President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer in delivering on the promise of an improved trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. I urge Speaker Pelosi to quickly schedule a vote on USMCA.”

 

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After more than a year of senseless delay, the United States, Mexico and Canada have announced an agreement on the United States Mexico and Canada Trade Agreement. Following the announcement, Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. issued the following statement:

“Two years ago, I traveled to Mexico to negotiate on behalf of agriculture, because implementing this deal is so important to finally delivering a level playing field for Kansas farmers and producers. For the last year, passing USMCA has been my number one legislative priority. After sitting on Nancy Pelosi’s desk for an entire year, President Trump and Congress will finally be able to deliver on this huge promise to the American people,” said Dr. Marshall. “USMCA means thousands of new jobs for Kansans and hundreds of millions of dollars in crucial Kansas exports. I want to applaud all the agriculture and manufacturing stakeholders that have fought beside us to get USMCA to the finish line.”

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Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson:

“While our farm and ranch families have waited far too long for this good news, we are pleased a deal has finally been reached on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. This is a crucial step forward in bringing long-term stability to Nebraska agriculture markets with two of Nebraska’s most important trading partners. USMCA ensures Nebraska beef, pork, corn, and soybean producers will maintain essential access to Mexico and Canada markets that account for significant percentages of Nebraska’s overall international agricultural sales. USMCA also opens the door for greater purchases of Nebraska wheat, poultry, and dairy products, as well as modernizing other areas of this critical agreement. We expect and urge swift action by the House and Senate to seal the deal on USMCA before the holidays.”

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USMCA Chatter.  Spitting of weather across the Midwest.  Soybeans sharply higher-funds are short.  Trade deal talks of last week makes some worried that a deal with China might not be done.  Extended crop reports…crop report out tomorrow-can we expect any surprises?  Stats Canada Vomitoxin issues, test weight issues on corn.   South America weather.  Price action on the livestock shows we haven’t learned a lot on the trade issues.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has an unlikely ally in Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas when it comes to a last-minute push for changes to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. They’re pushing to strip the trade pact of language shielding internet companies from liability over user-generated content.

The protection has come under scrutiny in Washington, D.C., as companies like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, come under fire for harmful content and political misinformation on their pages. Critics are arguing that putting those protections in trade deals limits Congressional ability to reconsider them domestically.

However, Republican lawmakers see the effort to eliminate the language as a last chance move to delay the trade deal. Adding in a new and potentially controversial request could significantly delay the process that everyone involved repeatedly says is close to finishing up.

Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar  said the U.S. put an additional demand on the table that Mexico “doesn’t want to touch.” He didn’t say what the new demand was but did say that it came about as Mexico was “pretty much almost ready to go.”

“Time is running out, and we don’t want to let our farmers and ranchers face 2020 with the uncertainty and confusion they now feel. These Nebraskans want to do business. They want to trade. We want to win… The clown show in the House of Representatives shouldn’t bring everything to a grinding halt. It shouldn’t stop us from doing right by our farmers and ranchers.”

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Video of the Senator’s speech is found here or by clicking on the image above. 

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse took to the Senate floor to call out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for stonewalling the United States, Mexico, Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA.)

“Time is running out, and we don’t want to let our farmers and ranchers face 2020 with the uncertainty and confusion they now feel. These Nebraskans want to do business. They want to trade. We want to win… The clown show in the House of Representatives shouldn’t bring everything to a grinding halt. It shouldn’t stop us from doing right by our farmers and ranchers.”

Sasse’s full remarks are found here and below.

Mr. President, farmers and ranchers are in a tough spot. There are a lot of families on the edge of bankruptcy in my state and in ag country more broadly. And as we get closer to Christmas and New Years without a trade deal with Canada and Mexico the situation is getting bleaker. Let’s be blunt about this: By needlessly stonewalling the USMCA trade agreement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats are taking Nebraska agriculture hostage. This is petty, stupid politics at its worst.

The USMCA trade deal is a free trade win for our farmers and ranchers and they desperately need this win right now.

With hard work and grit, Nebraskans have cultivated one of the most powerful agricultural economies in the history of the world. We literally feed the world and we do it with free trade because we grow so much more food than we could ever consume. We need export markets and lots of people around the world want to be consuming our ag products.

It’s pretty simple: Trade with Canada and Mexico is a win-win-win.

In 2018, Mexico and Canada bought more than $40-billion of American agricultural products. The U.S. International Trade Commission expects USMCA to increase that trade by more than $33-billion.

The USMCA trade deal is designed to reinforce those partnerships in ways that make sense for an economy that’s changed a lot since NAFTA was passed in the 1990s. In the 1990s Seinfeld was still on TV, we still watched movies on VHS tape, and we still took our pictures with these things that the pages probably don’t know, which were cameras that had film. I’ll be honest, at my house we still watch Seinfeld but we’ve happily moved on from VHS tapes. My teenage daughters set us up on Hulu streaming but I can’t make the remote work.

Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen a massive digital revolutionary change in nearly every sector of our economy. Farmers are using new tech to increase our productivity and get more out of the most fertile land on God’s green earth than people ever assumed possible. The USMCA trade deal makes the kind of basic improvements in our trading relationships with our neighbors that we need in a rapidly changing, evolving, and developing economy.  For example, it scraps the old rules about importing cars that still have cassette tape players. Chuck Grassley apparently still has a car that has a cassette tape player, but he’s proud of it so we won’t make fun of him here.

Passing the USMCA would secure long-term stability in our trade agreements with our partners across North America, and it would also send a signal to other potential partners around the world that the United States is open for business. We need to bring Japan, the European Union, and others to the negotiating table, and passing the USMCA would strengthen our position significantly in setting up those trade agreements.

But time is running out.

If we don’t pass USMCA this year, we’re going to send a very different signal to our potential partners. If Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats can’t get their act together on USMCA, they’ll be telling the whole world that we may or may not be open for business. It all depends on short-term political posturing. That’s the message they are sending now, and that’s a message that might be cemented if this calendar year ends without passing USMCA. Try running a convenience store like that and you’d be out of business in a month.

A lot of folks in San Francisco and New York City might not think much about beans and about corn prices, but a every farmer and rancher in Nebraska is beyond baffled that this no-brainer trade deal hasn’t passed yet. It’s simply in the best, long-term interests of everyone involved in the conversation. This is not something that should be slipping beyond this next year. This is something that should pass now. We should call the vote on Christmas morning if that’s what it takes. The Congress should not be leaving D.C. without passing the USMCA.

Time is running out, and we don’t want to let our farmers and ranchers face 2020 with the uncertainty and the confusion they now feel. These Nebraskans want to do business. They want to trade. We want to win.

Congress is the place where Americans deliberate about the long-term challenges that we need to face for the future of our country. But Instead of deliberation, right now what they see when they turn on their TV’s or pick up their newspapers, is just vicious partisanship and short-term posturing.

The American people deserve better than this.

The clown show in the House of Representatives shouldn’t bring everything to a grinding halt. It shouldn’t stop us from doing right by our farmers and ranchers.

The USMCA trade agreement would pass by large majorities if introduced on the House floor, and I speculate that it would get between 85 and 90 votes on this floor. Obviously, we can’t take it up until the House votes, and the House would pass it with a big majority. That means only Nancy Pelosi stands in the way of USMCA certainty for the world’s greatest producers.  Everyone knows this, and Speaker Pelosi should be scheduling the vote.

We have only got 28 days left in 2019. But that is plenty of time to vote on USMCA. That’s plenty of time to get a win for our farmers and ranchers.

Speaker Pelosi, please schedule the vote.

A final agreement on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is within days, according to some in Washington. A Mexican trade official last week told reporters Mexico was expected to approve changes to the agreement this week, which could then set up a vote in Congress.

The official said, “maybe days, so maybe sometime next week,” regarding timing, according to Politico. The comments followed a meeting with Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. A vote doesn’t mean the deal can be completed still in 2019, but would mark significant progress to finalizing the trade pact within the next few months.

USMCA is one of many legislative items on the agenda this month, as Congress must also yet again work towards funding the federal government. Lawmakers may also consider two farm labor bills, and provisions regarding biodiesel tax credits, as part of a broader energy bill. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives continues its impeachment investigation this week in the House Judiciary Committee.

Farmers for Free Trade, a bipartisan coalition supported by America’s top ag and business groups, announced a new ad campaign promoting quick passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

The ad campaign launched with a $300,000 advertising blitz in more than 20 Congressional Districts. The ads focus specifically on why the USMCA is a badly needed victory for American agriculture. The 30-second radio spots feature American farmers who personally advocate for passing the agreement. The campaign also includes digital ads as well.

The initial ad campaign will focus specifically on the home districts of many Democratic members of the House of Representatives. Those Democrats represent districts that have a high concentration of farmers and ranchers that would benefit from the USMCA. Farmers for Free Trade says those legislators are a very important part of making the case for the agreement and getting it to the finish line. Former Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln is a spokesperson for Farmers for Free Trade. She says, “With so many new Democratic members of Congress from districts with agricultural roots, they’ll have to be the ones to make the case that the agreement is vital for their farmers.”

Farmers for Free Trade Co-Executive Director Angela Hoffmann says farmers are growing more and more frustrated by the delay in approving USMCA.

Both the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and a phase one agreement of a deal between the U.S. and China appear to be slowly edging forward.

The Hagstrom Report quotes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as saying, “We are within range of a substantially improved agreement for America’s workers. Now, we need to see our progress in writing from the trade representative for a final review.” The Trump Administration says that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will provide a written agreement to Congress this week.

Trump is continuing to push House Democrats to bring the agreement up for a vote. “House Democrats have insisted that hard-working Americans need more from the USMCA than just the same broken NAFTA with better language but no real enforcement,” Pelosi says. “It still left American workers exposed to losing their jobs to Mexico.”

Meanwhile, President Trump says the phase one deal with China is “close.” At the same time, he also says the U.S. is monitoring the situation in Hong Kong. “We’re in the final throes of a very important deal,” Trump says. “It’s going very well, but at the same time we want to see things go well in Hong Kong.” Trump’s comments last week came just hours after a phone call between the Chinese Vice-Premier, USTR Robert Lighthizer, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Fewer and fewer days remain for Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in 2019. Washington is sending mixed signals on whether the deal can be completed this year.

Some lawmakers have suggested the House stay in session an extra week, adding time to the calendar to wrap up business before Christmas. Meanwhile, last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a labor deal in USMCA was “imminent.” However, President Donald Trump claimed this week Pelosi was holding up the trade deal to gather more votes in favor of impeaching Trump.

Representative Richard Neal, who chairs the Democrats USMCA working group, last week suggested union support was within reach, adding “we need it.” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka met with Pelosi and other Democrats Tuesday, while also vowing during an unrelated speech to not allow Democrats to fold on core issues.

Trumka stated that until USMCA includes stronger labor standards, “there is still more work to be done,” according to Reuters. Democrats leaving the meeting were skeptical that an agreement could be reached this year.