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USMCA trade agreement goes into effect today

Without the enactment of USMCA, the U.S. pork industry would face tariffs like those prior to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement enters into force today, replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement. The USMCA, which President Trump negotiated in 2018, rebalances trade between the three countries and will lead to significant economic and job growth in the United States, according to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Ambassador Lighthizer, who worked closely with Congress to win overwhelming bipartisan approval of the USMCA, issued the following statement about USMCA's entry into force.

"Today marks the beginning of a new and better chapter for trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada — just as President Trump promised he would deliver for the American people.

"From day one of his administration, President Trump has changed the focus of America's trade policy away from what is best for big, multi-national corporations to instead what is best for America's workers, farmers and ranchers. That's a monumental change. His success in creating a bipartisan consensus on this new model for trade policy — in spite of the establishment critics who said it couldn't be done — is truly remarkable.

"The USMCA contains significant improvements and modernized approaches that will deliver more jobs, stronger worker protections, expanded market access and greater opportunities to trade for companies large and small. We have worked closely with the governments of Mexico and Canada to ensure that the obligations and responsibilities of all three nations under the agreement have been met, and we will continue to do so to ensure the USMCA is enforced.

"The recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that now, more than ever, the United States must stop the outsourcing of jobs and increase our manufacturing capacity and investment here at home. With the USMCA's entry into force, we take another giant step forward in reaching this goal and advancing President Trump's vision for pro-worker trade policies."

Jim Heimerl, owner of Heimerl Farms, a pig farm near Johnstown, Ohio, was president of the National Pork Producers Council in 2018 when the wheels started turning to overhaul NAFTA.

"As former president of the National Pork Producers Council, and a pig farmer of 45 years, I've seen the tireless effort that went into the enactment of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. USMCA has been a long process, but I think America has won a great opportunity with our neighbors in the North and South," Heimerl says.

"Without the enactment of USMCA, the U.S. pork industry would face tariffs like those prior to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Farmers are already in a devastating market today, and cannot afford added tariffs. Thanks to the enactment of USMCA, farmers will greatly benefit from the preservation of zero-tariff pork trade in North America.

"For the U.S. pork industry, USMCA means we're keeping our borders open to two of our largest export markets — with Mexico being our No. 1 trade partner in volume — and that's a huge opportunity.

"Here in the U.S., we're in a deficit work force — and agriculture needs qualified labor on-farm. USMCA has created a huge influx of TN visas and a positive outlook for qualified labor in the workforce. Whether it's labor, or whether it's trade, I think the benefits of USMCA will be very positive in the long-run."

Mexico and Canada are among the top four destinations for U.S. beef and pork. Since NAFTA's entry into force in 1994, U.S. beef exports to Canada and Mexico grew from $656 million to more than $1.75 billion in 2019, while pork exports increased in value from $322 million to more than $2 billion during that same time period. In terms of volume, Canada and Mexico imported nearly 22% of total U.S. beef exports and 30% of all U.S. pork exports in 2019.

"The U.S. meat and poultry industry exports $5.5 billion annually in products to Canada and Mexico," says North American Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts. "This agreement is critical to meat and poultry processors and the millions of U.S. farmers, ranchers, allied manufacturers and transportation companies in the food supply chain."

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