Farm Bureau welcomes USCMA trade agreement

California Farm Bureau

Agreement will provide California farmers and ranchers with “much-needed certainty”

The newly revised North American Free Trade Agreement, renamed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, promises to ease export of California-grown farm products, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation.

“The newly announced U.S.-Canada agreement, in combination with the earlier agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, strengthens relations with two key trading partners,” CFBF President Jamie Johansson said, “and we urge Congress to ratify the USMCA without delay.”

Johansson said the agreement will provide California farmers and ranchers with “much-needed certainty” in key export markets.

“We applaud the three governments for working to modernize the agricultural chapters in the agreement,” he said. “It’s a welcome development at a time when farmers have faced obstacles in selling their products to foreign customers.”

Canada represents the second-largest market for California agricultural exports, with sales of more than $3.3 billion in 2016—the most recent year for which full statistics are available. Mexico is the No. 5 foreign market for California farm products, with sales of just more than $1 billion in 2016.

“Agricultural exports support thousands of jobs in California, both in rural areas where crops and commodities are grown and packed, and in urban centers from which products are marketed and shipped,” Johansson said. “We hope the agreements with Mexico and now with Canada lead to further easing of trade restrictions.”

The new agreements leave in effect Canadian and Mexican retaliatory tariffs on farm goods imposed after the U.S. placed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Johansson urged U.S. negotiators to reach agreements on those issues as soon as possible.

“We’ve seen California farmers, ranchers and agricultural marketers lose sales because of the retaliatory tariffs from Canada, Mexico and in particular from China,” he said. “Until those tariffs come off, farmers won’t see the full benefit of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement.”

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 40,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.