Trump signs USMCA; Canada up next

Legislative Watch: Canada now on the clock to approve USMCA; USDA Outlook Conference set; trillion-dollar deficits projected; Iowa caucus next week.

P. Scott Shearer, Vice President

January 31, 2020

3 Min Read
Illustration of USMCA with U.S. Capitol in the background
Getty Images/iStockphoto

President Trump, at a White House ceremony this week, signed H.R. 5430, ratifying the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. The administration estimates U.S. agricultural exports will increase $2.2 billion under USMCA.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in a statement says, "This agreement shows the rest of the world the United States is open for business. USMCA is critical for America's farmers and ranchers, who will now have even more market access to our neighbors to the north and the south."

Canada and Mexico are the first and second largest export markets for U.S. food and agricultural products, totaling more than $39.7 billion food and agricultural exports in 2018.

Canada is the last country that needs to ratify the USMCA before it can go into effect. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked the Canadian Parliament to move forward on ratification. Legislation was introduced in Canada's House of Commons on Wednesday to implement the USMCA. It is expected the agreement will pass early this spring.

USMCA will go into effect 90 days after Canada ratifies the agreement.

USDA Outlook Conference set for February
"The Innovation Imperative: Shaping the Future of Agriculture" is the theme of USDA's 2020 Outlook Conference that will be held Feb. 20-21 in Arlington, Va.

Perdue and John Hartnett, founder and CEO of SVG Ventures, will discuss the future of agriculture, challenges facing the sector and emerging solutions during the opening session on Feb. 20. Also, Robert Johansson, USDA chief economist, will present USDA's outlook for U.S. commodity markets and trade in 2020.

A panel that day will discuss "Innovation as a solution for farmers." Panelists are Frank Yiannas, deputy commissioner for Food Policy and Response at the Food and Drug Administration; Jeff Broin, founder of POET; and Shari Rogge-Fidler, president of Farm Foundation.

There will be 30 sessions during the conference for attendees to choose from concerning innovations in agriculture, global trade trends, food loss and waste, frontiers in conservation and the science of food safety.

For additional information visit the Agricultural Outlook Forum website.

Trillion-dollar deficits projected
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its "2020 Budget and Economic Outlook" projecting the return of trillion-dollar deficits and higher and rising debt and deficits over the next 10 years.

The CBO estimates the federal deficit for 2020 will be $1.02 trillion and the deficit will increase to $1.7 trillion in 2030 under current law. This year's deficit will be first trillion-dollar deficit in history not caused by the Great Recession. The increase in the deficit is from tax cuts and projected increased spending, especially health care, Social Security and interest on the national debt.

The deficit was higher after the 2008-09 financial crisis. However, economists are concerned the difference between taxes and spending has remained high during a time of low unemployment and a growing economy.

CBO Director Phillip Swagel says, "Not since World War II has the country seen deficits during times of low unemployment that are as large as those that we project."

All eyes are on Iowa
Next Monday the Iowa caucus kicks-off the presidential primary and caucus season which will run through June 7. Real Clear Politics polls show the leading candidates in Iowa are Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren. Next up is the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11.

Source: P. Scott Shearer, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

About the Author(s)

P. Scott Shearer

Vice President, Bockorny Group, Inc.

Scott Shearer is vice president of the Bockorny Group Inc., a leading bipartisan government affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. With more than 30 years experience in government and corporate relations in state and national arenas, he is recognized as a leader in agricultural trade issues, having served as co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-China Trade and co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Trade Promotion Authority. Scott was instrumental in the passage of China Permanent Normal Trade Relations and TPA. He is past chairman of the USDA-USTR Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products and was a member of the USAID Food Security Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Bockorny Group, Scott served as director of national relations for Farmland Industries Inc., as well as USDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (1993-96), serving as liaison for the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA to Congress.

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