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House Approves USMCA Trade Deal

Bill to overhaul NAFTA passed 385-41

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The House on Thursday passed a bill to implement President Trump’s overhaul of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), advancing a crucial piece of his economic agenda with strong bipartisan support, reports The Hill.

The bill to enact Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) passed 385 to 41, with 38 Democrats, two Republicans and Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) voting against the deal.

The measure now moves to the Senate, where it is expected to pass after the chamber concludes Trump’s impeachment trial.

This past year, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates have forcefully spoken out on their behalf about the need for the USMCA.

“Agriculture desperately needed a win for economic recovery, and passing the USMCA was that win,” says National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President and Lavon, TX, farmer Ben Scholz. “NAWG applauds those Members of Congress for their support and hard work to advance this critical trade deal one step closer to the finish line. We encourage the Senate to follow its lead and pass this deal early in the new year.”

Mexico’s flour millers import more U.S. wheat than any other country and they have been very anxious about the outcome of this trade agreement, says U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Chairman and Paulding, OH, farmer Doug Goyings.

“At the end of a conference with those millers last June, we agreed to work together to get USMCA implemented," says Goyings. "Our colleagues at NAWG have enthusiastically joined that effort on Capitol Hill and we thank them for their support.”

USMCA retains tariff-free access to imported U.S. wheat for those long-time flour milling customers in Mexico, a crucial step toward rebuilding trust in the U.S. as a reliable supplier in this important, neighboring market. In addition, the USMCA makes important progress towards more open commerce for U.S. wheat farmers near the Canadian border by allowing U.S. varieties registered in Canada to receive reciprocal grading treatment.

Other measures that benefit the wheat industry include the agreement’s language around agricultural biotechnology which supports 21st Century innovations in agriculture and new language to strengthen disciplines for science-based SPS measures.

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