OPINION  We are now one step away from unleashing the competitiveness of America’s farmers and ranchers with our two-largest trading partners thanks to the recent Senate Finance Committee vote. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will protect our valuable trade relationships with our nearest neighbors and return certainty to our markets. We urge immediate approval by the full Senate to deliver a much-needed win for agriculture.

The challenges farmers and ranchers faced in 2019 are no secret. But it’s a new year and we are eager for new opportunities to compete, building on the progress with Japan and the pending announcement of a new China agreement. We hope the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will be a model for future U.S. trade agreements as the administration pursues a level playing field around the globe for our farmers and ranchers.

Designed to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement builds on important trade relationships in North America.

  • The agreement is expected to increase U.S. agricultural exports by $2 billion and result in a $65 billion increase in gross domestic product.
  • The agreement will provide new market access for American dairy and poultry products while preserving the zero-tariff platform on all other ag products.
  • The agreement gives U.S. dairy products access to an additional 3.6 percent of Canada’s dairy market – even better than what was proposed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
  • U.S. wheat will receive fairer treatment, thanks to Canada’s agreement to grade our wheat no less favorably than its own.
  • Mexico and the United States have also agreed that all grading standards for ag products will be non-discriminatory.
  • Additional provisions enhance science-based trading standards among the three nations as the basis for sanitary and phytosanitary measures for ag products, as well as progress in the area of geographic indications.
  • The agreement also includes measures that address cooperation, information sharing and other trade rules among the three nations related to agricultural biotechnology and gene editing.

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Zippy Duvall is president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. Visit www.fb.org for more information.