Renewable Farming

80% of Americans want U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement, but the House fixates on impeachment

Today, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to finally pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has deliberately blocked. It’s a trade agreement which could greatly help American farmers.

Apparently, nobody in our Administration bullied President Obrador into pressuring Ms. Pelosi, speaker of the House and primarily responsible for stalling the bill. (It just happens to fulfill one of President Trump’s major trade promises.) Many American lawmakers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are also pressuring Speaker Pelosi. She says, “We hope to continue further down the path to yes, but insist that any trade agreement strengthen America’s working families.” That, of course, is what the USMCA would do.

October 11, 2019 By Jerry Carlson — We usually report only on ways to raise yields. But today’s trade tensions and hyper-intensive partisanship in Washington raise threats to farmers’ well-being more seriously than crop-growing challenges. 

Under previous and more restrictive trade agreements, American ag exports to Mexico and Canada soared 400% in 25 years. These two nations buy 30% of our ag products. The USMCA would add more than $3 billion in our ag export potential. The International Trade Commission estimates the pact would multiply America’s workforce by 176,000 and add $68 billion in total benefits. 

The House blockade against USMCA is only a preview of major trade pacts threatened by the Democrats’ urge to purge the White House. 

Today’s progress on a U.S.-China trade agreement could encounter serious delays if the House sabotages elements of the pact.

President Trump’s trade team has negotiated bilateral trade accords with Japan and India.  He has promised a major bilateral trade agreement with Great Britain if it severs its constraints under the European Union, which is finally looking more likely.

If Congress — particularly the House — supported global trade with more enthusiasm, the U.S. could have moved boldly to help China with extra pork imports, offsetting the huge losses in China’s hog herd from African swine fever. However, that did not happen. Instead, Brazil is building dozens of pork processing plants, and new hog production facilities are springing up to replace the market share American pork producers might have gained. Over the past few years, the U.S. has provided less than 1% of China’s pork consumption. The National Pork Producers Council estimates that China’s 72% tariffs on most pork products — now partially suspended — stripped $8 from the market value of every hog sold in the U.S.

U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators apparently reached agreement in a two-day session earlier this week for China to import “$40 to $50 billion” worth of U.S. farm products. No time period was clearly specified, although some news outlets presumed this meant annual purchases. China bought roughly $24 billion of American ag products in 2017.