WASHINGTON – In a break to what has been more than a year of feuding and tense negotiations, the U.S. has reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico on a new trade pact, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
While announcement is a bit of welcome news to family farmers and ranchers who are bearing the brunt of retaliatory tariffs and trade disruptions, the agreement should do more to institute a fair trade agreement framework that benefits family farmers and rural communities, according to National Farmers Union (NFU).
NFU President Roger Johnson released the following statement in response to the new trade pact:
“After more than a year of escalating trade tensions, the prospects of progress on trade with our two closest trading partners is encouraging. Farmers have seen their income plummet over the past five years, only to have farm prices further depressed by trade disruptions. While this agreement is certainly no cure-all, it is hopefully a start to repairing our trade relationships around the world, to restoring our reputation as a reliable trading partner, and to resolving longstanding issues with discrimination against U.S. wheat.
“Farmers Union supports the President’s goals to balance trade and restore sovereignty that has been lost as a result of past trade agreements. We have long been at the forefront of the fight for fair trade that puts family farmers and ranchers on an even playing field with corporations and the rest of the world. Yet a couple areas in this agreement appear to fall short of these goals. Progress was made on the dispute settlement mechanisms—provisions that place tremendous power in the hands of multinational corporations—but the ISDS framework remains. And country-of-origin labeling, which is supported by 90 percent of Americans, was unfortunately left out of the agreement.”