Last Friday, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement took another major step toward implementation as both houses of the Canadian Parliament gave final approval to legislation ratifying the agreement. The Canadian House of Commons had been expected to resume debate on the bill, which was reported out of committee in late-February and initially debated on the House floor a few days earlier. But lawmakers agreed to approve USMCA before taking a five-week break due to concerns related to coronavirus.
U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom explains that when implemented, USMCA will solidify trade relations in North America and preserve duty-free access to Canada and Mexico for U.S. pork, beef and lamb.
Last year U.S. pork exports to Canada were nearly 215,000 metric tons, the largest since 2013. Export value was more than $800 million — the highest since 2014. This was an especially strong performance considering that Canadian pork was shut out of China for nearly half the year. Now that Canada is once again exporting large quantities of pork to China, domestic supplies are expected to tighten, and this should open up additional opportunities in Canada for U.S. pork.
U.S. beef exports to Canada trended lower in 2019, but still topped $650 million. Exports of cooked and prepared beef products were impacted in the first half of the year by retaliatory duties imposed as part of the steel and aluminum tariff dispute. Halstrom notes that implementing USMCA could help the U.S. industry avoid this type of situation in the future.