Farm Policy Facts is honored to share this guest column, written by Chandler Goule, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG). NAWG is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public.
For more than a year, Congress has been considering the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The time for deliberation is over; it’s harvest time for USMCA.
But it’s not enough to hope that Congress passes USMCA before the opportunity disappears. NAWG has been on the front lines of advocating for the fair trade of U.S. farm products and educating Congress on the benefits of USMCA for not just wheat growers, but all America.
That educational campaign continued this morning on Capitol Hill at an event hosted by Agri-Pulse for members of Congress and their staff. Joined by commodity leaders and Congressman Jim Costa, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, I called on Congress to pass USMCA in order to secure its benefits for U.S. agriculture.
USMCA is a critical trade agreement for America’s farmers and ranchers and will likely remain the most important trade deal for wheat growers for several years to come.
USMCA is a substantial win for wheat growers.
One reason why is because it maintains tariff-free access to U.S. wheat for our long-term flour milling customers in Mexico. Prior to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), various trade barriers, including the use of import tariffs, kept American wheat exports to Mexico artificially low.
Under the framework established by NAFTA, the tariffs for most agricultural goods, including wheat, went to zero. This opened the door for the wheat market to grow exponentially, securing superior U.S. products for our customers in Mexico and bringing increased prosperity to rural communities in the U.S.
Now, Mexico is consistently one of our top export markets. American wheat growers send approximately three million metric tons of U.S. wheat to Mexico every year, averaging close to $1 billion in sales.
USMCA also addresses trade barriers that harmed wheat exports headed north to Canada. It takes an important step to fix Canada’s discriminatory grain grading system which put American wheat growers at a competitive disadvantage.
This trade agreement will make the free trade of goods in North America fairer and open new market opportunities for a wide swath of agricultural products. It also secures trade benefits for America’s dairy farmers, wine makers, egg and poultry producers.
Fair and reciprocal trade does more than ensure equitable treatment for the high-quality Made-in-America goods our farmers and ranchers produce. USMCA will spur even greater economic activity in our rural communities that often need it most.
The U.S. government estimates that USMCA will increase U.S. agricultural exports by $2.2 billion and the Economic Research Service at the USDA calculates that every $1 billion in agricultural exports support 8,400 jobs.
USMCA is a win for wheat. But it’s also a win for agriculture, a win for our economy, and a win for America. It’s time for Congress to pass USMCA now!