OPINION American Agri-Women supports the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Organization leaders advocated for approval of the trade agreement with members of Congress during the organization’s recent annual fly-in to Washington, D.C.
More than 95 percent of the world’s population lives outside the United States. That means most of our agricultural customers for food, feed, fuel, fiber and flora are in export markets. The best-three markets for U.S. food and agricultural products have historically been Canada, Mexico and China. They are also the three countries with which our trade partnerships are at the greatest risk. It’s our mission and our duty to represent and protect farmers and ranchers who produce food, feed, fiber and fuel for the world.
Mexico and Canada account for 25 percent of all U.S. agriculture exports, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement preserves and builds upon the existing trading relationship between the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Passage of the agreement would boost both national and rural economies. For soybeans it would assure us of tariff-free access to two strong markets – one of which is Mexico, our No. 2 market for whole beans. Soybean exports to Mexico quadrupled and to Canada doubled through the years because of the hard work of soybean growers visiting with buyers and hosting trade teams. We would like to continue that positive trade momentum with our neighbors.
The new trade agreement has provisions for wheat farmers, including tariff-free access to imported U.S. wheat for flour-milling customers in Mexico. The agreement makes progress toward fixing the grading issue U.S. farmers face when exporting their wheat to Canada. The agreement will also safeguard the traditionally second-largest importer of U.S. sorghum.
It’s our duty as women of agriculture to share how we contribute to a healthy safe and reliable food supply – and the policies necessary to feed our country and the world.