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Here's what they're saying about NAFTA's replacement

• Oct 1, 2018 at 10:23 PM

A number of officials issued statements about the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Here is a roundup:

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue:

“The great news of a new USMCA deal is important for our economy as a whole, including the agricultural sector, which counts Canada and Mexico in our top three trading partners. I have long said that I believe our country is located in the best neighborhood on Earth – North America – with valuable allies to our north and south. We have secured greater access to these vital markets and will maintain and improve the highly productive integrated agricultural relationship we have as nations. Notably, as one of the President’s top goals, this deal eliminates Canada’s unfair ‘Class 7’ milk pricing scheme, cracks open additional access to U.S. dairy into Canada, and imposes new disciplines on Canada’s supply management system. The agreement also preserves and expands critical access for U.S. poultry and egg producers and addresses Canada’s discriminatory wheat grading process to help U.S. wheat growers along the border become more competitive.

“As we celebrate this breakthrough, it is worth noting that there were many detractors who said it couldn’t be done. But this is further proof that President Trump’s trade negotiation strategy is working. A renewed USMCA, a new KORUS agreement, and the continued progress with Japan, can lead to further deals with other trading partners like the European Union and China. The dominoes are falling and it is good news for U.S. farmers. I thank President Trump and our U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Lighthizer for their perseverance, leadership, and hard work.”

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U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta:

“President Trump’s new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada is a win for the American worker and yet another example of a promise kept. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement takes another important step in the President’s efforts to create more family-sustaining jobs in the United States. Through the USMCA, President Trump has rebalanced trade with Mexico and Canada to help American workers. When Americans have opportunities to compete, we show why America has the greatest workforce in the world.”

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U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio-09):

“Ohio has been a bull’s eye of destruction due to the original NAFTA. Town after town lost good jobs at good wages and benefits. I voted against the original NAFTA and its vast US job outsourcing and wage drag, and have witnessed firsthand as dire predictions came true for too many of our fellow citizens. Our nation lost thousands of jobs to penny wage environments where workers could not even afford to buy what they made. The original NAFTA fueled massive migration from Mexico’s countryside to our nation because thousands of small farms there were extinguished. What a tragedy. In the nearly three decades since, we have not had even one year of balanced trade accounts, vivid evidence of a trade agreement that failed America’s workers and communities as plant after plant shut down. In this wake, a modern agreement to correct these injustices is long-overdue. On first glance, it appears this Administration has made incremental progress on goals long championed to uplift North American workers devastated by the original agreement. However, the devil is in the details, the jury is out on this new deal. Trade with our closest neighbors is not simply a zero sum game.”

“Any new North American trade agreement must raise wages and create a level playing field across the board. The threats and bluster in which President Trump has engaged have real consequences for jobs and Americans throughout the Heartland states, particularly in auto and farm country. The American people are not interested in faulty, half negotiations that look good on paper but fail to live up to the promises the President and his team made on the campaign trail.”

“Now four weeks before a major election in our country and two months before a new, pro-worker president is inaugurated in Mexico the Trump administration puts forth the amended deal posting it at the 11th hour and without Congressional input up to this point. With the release of text, which remains unfinished and unresolved in some important places, comes the task to determine whether the job outsourcing bonanza that has taken hold since NAFTA’s passage in 1994 has truly been addressed. Have strong labor standards been included, subject to swift and certain enforcement, so corporate interests do not continue to outsource American jobs to take advantage of rock-bottom Mexican wages? To rush any deal of such magnitude through negotiations for the sake of electoral timelines rather than necessary and substantive achievements, is a disservice to our constituents and in the end will not succeed. American workers deserve a complete picture of where Trump’s NAFTA is headed.” Kaptur concluded.

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U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio):

“Last night’s announcement is welcomed news for Ohio workers and Ohio job creators. The President upheld his promise to reach a new, better, and fairer trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.

The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will better protect American farmers, workers, and manufacturers from unfair and non-reciprocal trade practices. Additionally, provisions included will help protect the intellectual property of American companies that is vital in our ability to remain an innovative nation. Of particular importance to Ohio is Canada’s elimination of market-distorting activities that put our dairy farmers at a competitive disadvantage for too many years.

I look forward to reading the full text of the agreement and discussing its impact with Ohio workers, companies, and families.”

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U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio):

“I’m pleased the administration has reached an agreement with Canada to modernize NAFTA, a goal I’ve long supported. This is good news following the recent announcement of an agreement with Mexico. I look forward to seeing the details of the agreement, but from what I know, when combined with the new agreement with Mexico, it will help Ohio workers, farmers and businesses by leveling the playing field on trade and expanding the export of American-made products. This is critical to continuing the positive momentum in our economy and creating more jobs.

“Of note, I am pleased to see a commitment to address potential Section 232 tariffs on car imports from Canada. As I have said, I do not believe this is the proper use of the national security exception in Section 232. In addition, it is important that the digital trade chapter includes explicit and clear references to FOSTA/SESTA and the significance of combatting online sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. I congratulate President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for their hard work throughout these talks, and I look forward to reviewing the agreement in detail in the coming days and weeks.”

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National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp:

“Farmers across the country have been closely following NAFTA negotiations and reminding the administration of its promise to ‘do no harm’ to agriculture.”

“NAFTA has been an unequivocal success story for American agriculture, opening markets that since enactment have become vitally important to U.S. corn farmers, and providing certainty to farmers and the rural economy. We applaud USTR for reaching a new agreement and look forward to thoroughly evaluating it to determine if it continues to benefit American agriculture.”

Last year the United States exported $3.2 billion of corn and corn products to Mexico and Canada, supporting 25,000 rural jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that trade with Canada and Mexico supports 14 million U.S. jobs across many sectors.

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American Soybean Association President John Heisdorffer:

“Our soybean harvest this year is large, and we are facing great uncertainty in China, so a modernized NAFTA is timely and beneficial for our farmers and rural communities. … With USMCA, KORUS, and other agreements in sight, we are hopeful that a negotiated solution to the China tariffs could be in sight.”

The Administration’s announcement that it has reached an agreement with Canada, bringing to fruition a trilateral trade agreement including Mexico, is welcome news for soy growers. Once approved by Congress, a finalized U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement will bring stability back to the North American markets.

Under NAFTA, U.S. soy exports to Canada and Mexico were almost $3 billion in 2017, and U.S. soy exports to Mexico have grown four-fold under the agreement. Mexico is now the second largest export market for U.S. soybeans and meal. Additionally, roughly $43 billion of agriculture products are exported to Canada and Mexico every year.

The new deal, dubbed USMCA, will help stabilize the U.S.’s two neighboring export markets for growers, something that the American Soybean Association (ASA) has been requesting of the Administration. And, this news follows last week’s announcement that the U.S. had signed a new free trade agreement with Korea and that negotiations are in progress with Japan.

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