December 19, 2019
On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives signed off on the long-awaited, updated North American Free Trade Agreement. With a vote of 385-41, House lawmakers passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and sent the trade deal to the Senate floor.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issued the following statement after the House approval.
"House passage of the USMCA with such huge bipartisan support is a major milestone and shows just how much President Trump is successfully changing U.S. trade policy so it works for the benefit of American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses. The USMCA is expected to create between 176,000 and 589,000 new American jobs and substantially increase economic growth. The International Trade Commission's analysis shows that USMCA will have a more positive impact on our economy, jobs and wages than any other U.S. trade agreement ever negotiated.
"It will create tens of thousands of new jobs — many importantly in manufacturing — and increase export opportunities for our farmers, ranchers and businesses. President Trump is keeping his promise to replace the failed NAFTA with a far better trade agreement. Thanks to his leadership and the work of Republicans and Democrats in Congress, the USMCA represents the gold standard in U.S. trade policy and will be the template for U.S. trade agreements going forward.
"This is the first-ever trade coalition of workers, farmers, Republicans, Democrats, business and agriculture groups, organized labor and much more. I would like to thank the many members of the House and Senate for getting us to this point. I would also like to acknowledge the leadership of the business community, agriculture groups and organized labor who have supported the agreement."
The U.S. Meat Export Federation applauded the House of Representatives for approving the legislation and the bipartisan effort by Congressional leaders and the Trump administration to bring USMCA to a House vote.
"Ratification of USMCA is an important step in solidifying trade relations with Mexico and Canada, which are critical destinations for U.S. pork, beef and lamb," says USMEF president and CEO Dan Halstrom. "This agreement will bolster the United States' position as a reliable supplier to two leading markets that currently account for about one-third of all U.S. red meat exports. We look forward to the Senate taking up this legislation as soon as possible and completing the ratification process.
During a teleconference with media this week, National Pork Producers Council president David Herring said if he had a Christmas wish it was to get USMCA passed in the House this week. "I hope it gets ratified and completed because the trade that we enjoy with Mexico and our partners there and also Canada are so important," said the pork producer from Lillington, N.C.
Canada and Mexico represent about 40% of U.S. pork exports. "We can't get it ratified through Congress fast enough," Herring said.
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