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NPPC testifies in support of USMCA

Mexico and Canada are the No. 2 and No. 4 export markets, respectively, for the U.S. pork industry.

Exports of U.S. pork and other American agricultural goods to Canada and Mexico are expected to grow under the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the National Pork Producers Council testified today at a hearing on the trade deal held by the International Trade Commission.

The Trump administration recently concluded renegotiations with Canada and Mexico on a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement — now known as the USMCA. As part of the deal’s ratification process, the ITC is providing the president, the U.S. Trade Representative and Congress with independent analysis of and information and support on the agreement.

In addition to maintaining on pork traded in North America the zero-tariff rate that was included in NAFTA, the USMCA has strong sanitary-phytosanitary provisions, including ones on plant inspection equivalence and plant auditing, that expand on rules contained in the old agreement and in the World Trade Organization’s SPS Agreement, NPPC points out.

“The USMCA will maintain and strengthen our strong economic ties with our North American neighbors,” testified Maria Zieba, NPPC’s director of international trade. “Preserving the North American market is particularly vital to U.S. pork producers, who have been suffering the consequences of retaliatory tariffs,” particularly duties from China and Mexico.

To take advantage of the duty-free access afforded through the USMCA, says Zieba, the 20% Mexican tariff on U.S. pork must be lifted, and for that to happen, the United States needs to resolve a dispute over — and rescind the tariff on — Mexican steel and aluminum imports.

Mexico is the No. 2 export market for the U.S. pork industry, which last year shipped more than $1.5 billion of product there. (Canada, which took nearly $793 million of U.S. pork in 2017, is the industry’s No. 4 export market.)

“NPPC calls on Congress to expeditiously pass the USMCA so that U.S. pork and other American farm products can be sent duty-free to America’s two largest export markets and so that U.S. agriculture can continue helping to boost the U.S. economy,” Zieba testified.

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