Push for USMCA passage: U.S., Mexico leaders discuss need for ratification

Mexico accounted for $19 billion in U.S. agricultural exports last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently visited Mexico as part of an agricultural trade mission, where trade was discussed by leaders of both countries.

“Certainly, the USMCA came up,” Perdue said. “Mexico, as we are, is anxious to have that ratified. They’ve already done their work, and they’re anxious for us to complete our task here.

“They still seem to be very pleased with the provisions of USMCA. They don’t expect any major changes there, and I don’t think Ambassador (Robert) Lighthizer does, as well. He feels the issues he’s been negotiating with on the Democratic side are attainable and can be done.”

Perdue would like to see progress sooner than later.

“I think the later it goes, the longer it becomes entangled in politics that would not be helpful to the agreement,” he said. “We certainly don’t want to forfeit (USMCA) on the altar of politics.”

Mexico is the second-largest export market of agricultural products from the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Over the last decade, U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico grew 48% from $12.9 billion to $19.1 billion in 2018.

According to the Purdue University Ag Economy Barometer, a survey of 400 U.S. farmers, most believe it’s critical for the USMCA to pass.

“Ninety-six percent said (USMCA) was either important or very important to the health of the ag economy,” said Jim Mintert, director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture at PurdueUniversity.

“But only 55% of them said that they think it is likely that the trade agreement will be approved soon by the U.S. Congress.”

Learn more about USMCA at: https://ustr.gov/usmca.

Erica Quinlan can be reached at 800-426-9438, ext. 193, or equinlan@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Quinlan.

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