Rep. Hartzler: USMCA trade deal 'extremely important for our farmers'


U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri)  

U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri) hopes to see movement on the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, introduced last fall by President Donald Trump, because it would be positive for Missouri, given the state's massive amount of business with Canada and Mexico.

The USMCA is designed to update the North American Trade Agreement. Hartzler said the bill for USMCA has to be submitted to Congress, which would be followed by a 90-day period to pass it through the House and Senate. However, the bill would only come to Congress once House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) supports it. And that will depend on changes she wants to see on how Mexico implements the labor laws the country has agreed to in the USMCA.

“It just seems to me like it might be an excuse to not support something that the president has worked on and if that is the case that it would be disappointing because this new agreement, this updated NAFTA agreement, is expected to add 176,000 new jobs, $68 billion dollars of new economic growth, and remove trade barriers for agriculture that is extremely important for our farmers,” Hartzler told Missouri Business Daily.

Hartzler said she was hopeful the deal would get done before Congress's August break, but she said it probably will happen later this fall. 

North American trade is huge for Missouri. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, Kansas City in 2017 exported about $2.36 billion to Canada, while St. Louis sent about $2.19 billion to its northern neighbor. Hartzler said the state exported $7.8 billion to its North American neighbors, which are Missouri's top two trading partners.

According to information provided by Hartzler's office, Missouri's top exports to Canada and Mexico in 2017 were transportation equipment at $2.9 billion, chemicals at $962.2 million, processed food at $808.9 million, machinery at $535.3 million and agricultural products at $452 million.

Hartzler said the USMCA would help the auto industry with provisions such as 75% of auto content required to be produced in North America, and 40 to 45% of the auto content has to be made by workers making an average base pay of at least $16 per hour.

For agriculture, trade would maintain the zero tariffs currently on its products. The National Association of Manufacturers said that taking away trade without tariffs in North America could cost Missouri $226 million to $792 million in additional taxes.

Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau, wrote in an April 3 column that the USMCA would bring a close to Canada's pricing plan in the dairy industry that he called unfair and give more access for poultry, as well as bring a focus on trading and approval in biotechnology.

The USMCA could bring benefits beyond monetary ones. Tom Rogan of the Washington Examiner wrote last fall that the deal may help strengthen diplomacy in other areas among the countries.

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Organizations in this Story

American Farm Bureau The National Association. of Manufacturers U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler (MO-4)

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