In this file:
· Trudeau, Trump and Pena Nieto sign USMCA
NAFTA trade replacement still needs to be ratified by lawmakers in all 3 countries before taking effect
· USMCA is signed, but challenges remain
· USMCA: Trump Signs New Trade Agreement With Mexico And Canada
· Step One to Stop Trade Wars: Ratify the USMCA Now
· Statement of Secretary Perdue on Signing of USMCA
· NFU: USMCA Deal Falls Short of Fair Trade Framework for Family Farmers, NFU Says
· U.S. Grains Council Statement On USMCA Signing
· USMCA gets signed; Clock ticking on farm bill
Trudeau, Trump and Pena Nieto sign USMCA
NAFTA trade replacement still needs to be ratified by lawmakers in all 3 countries before taking effect
Janyce McGregor, CBC News (Canada)
Nov 30, 2018
The road to rewrite the North American trade agreement was a "battle", U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto joined him for a signing ceremony on the sidelines of the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Nevertheless, "battles sometimes make great friendships," Trump said as the other two leaders looked on.
Official text for the deal Trump has named the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) has now been signed by all three countries.
Canada will change the order of the countries in its version of the name, putting Canada first (CUSMA.) In remarks at the signing ceremony, Trudeau said this signing lifts the uncertainty that surrounded the acrimonious 15-month negotiation process, an uncertainty that "only would have gotten worse" if the parties had not reached a new agreement.
Both Trump and Trudeau noted that the deal was signed on Pena Nieto's final day in office, thanking him for his work. A new Mexican president was elected last summer and will be sworn in Dec.1.
The signing followed days of speculation as to whether Canada would sign the USMCA at all, and if it did, whether it would be signed by a more junior official than the prime minister.
One one hand, Canada wanted to register its displeasure at signing a free trade deal when in fact there are tariffs on $48 billion worth of goods traded between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Those tariffs began with U.S. action against imported steel and aluminum, using national security as a justification under an obscure U.S. law from 1962. Canada and Mexico in turn retaliated with tariffs against the US. All those tariffs remain in place as the USMCA is signed, much to the displeasure of both Canadian and Mexican governments.
A low-key signing
Both the White House and the Mexican government said openly in the days before the signing ceremony that it would involve the leaders of the three countries.
Only Canada sounded a somewhat sour note, saying there were still difficulties in the text and hinting it was reluctant to have a celebratory signing of a free trade deal marred by tariffs that suggest anything but true free trade.
At the same time, though, Canadian officials insisted that the steel and aluminum tariffs enacted under Section 232 were on a separate track from the main NAFTA negotiation, and one would not affect the other.
They made it clear they didn't want to celebrate the end of a year of U.S. attempts to twist Canada's arm with the tariffs still in place.
But they also made it clear that Canada saw the conclusion of a deal to salvage NAFTA more or less intact as being more important than any message Canada could send on tariffs.
So Canada's preferred approach would probably have been a low-key signing where ministers, rather than heads of government, put their imprimatur on the accord with the minimum of public fuss.
But that ran up against the political needs of the leaders of the two other countries.
A legacy moment
Perhaps it might have been expected that Trump would want to turn the signing into something of a spectacle.
He's sold the renegotiation of NAFTA to his base of supporters as a huge improvement over the previous deal agreed to in 1992 — and a victory in his campaign to bring back jobs and "Make America Great Again."
It's only to be expected that he wants the photo to prove it, complete with the other two countries signing what he can present as articles of capitulation.
But his Mexican counterpart, Pena Nieto, has sold the deal to his people as a victory for Mexico, saving free trade from a U.S. president who wanted to kill it. Friday is the last day of his six-year term, and on Saturday, he will be replaced by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), a politician who represents Mexico's left, and who has often questioned the value of NAFTA and international trade generally.
It's a safe bet that Pena Nieto wants his legacy to be that of a man who did what had to be done to save NAFTA, the bedrock of Mexico's modern prosperity.
With the leaders of the two other NAFTA partners determined to sign in person, it became difficult for Trudeau to delegate the duty to someone else.
Bogged down on dairy…
USMCA is signed, but challenges remain
By Amie Simpson, Brownfield
November 30, 2018
The U.S., Canada, and Mexico have signed a new trade agreement after more than a year of negotiations, but challenges remain.
The U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement replaces NAFTA and must be ratified by lawmakers in each country. A major sticking point for Canada and Mexico has been the steel and aluminum tariffs. Leaders from the countries have said they want tariffs removed before the agreement is ratified.
President Trump says the U.S. took a lot of barbs, but in the end got an agreement that’s good for all three countries...
USMCA: Trump Signs New Trade Agreement With Mexico And Canada
Bill Chappell, NPR
November 30, 2018
President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed the new U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement — or USMCA — in Buenos Aires Friday, using the backdrop of the G-20 Summit to resolve a trade dispute between America and its closest neighbors.
"This has been a battle, and battles sometimes make great friendships," Trump said at the start of the signing ceremony.
Saying all three countries will benefit from the deal, Trump said of the USMCA, "It is probably the largest trade deal ever made."
The USMCA (read the whole text here) replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement, which had created a free trade zone between the three countries back in 1994. The deal will require ratification by all three countries' legislatures before taking effect...
... The USMCA deal emerged in early October, months after President Trump hit Mexico and Canada with tariffs on their steel and aluminum products. That move set off retaliatory tariffs and intense negotiations to create a new trade pact.
Calling the deal "the new North American Free Trade Agreement, Trudeau said it "lifts the risk of serious economic uncertainty that lingers throughout a trade renegotiation process — uncertainty that would have only gotten worse and more damaging if we had not reached a new NAFTA."
There is more work to be done, Trudeau said, calling the recent announcement that General Motors will close plants in Canada and the U.S. "a heavy blow."
Turning to address Trump, said "And Donald, it's all the more reason why we need to keep working to remove the tariffs on steel and aluminum between our countries."
When it was his turn to speak, Peña Nieto said the trade agreement includes provisions for e-commerce and informational technology — subjects that he said made it necessary to update NAFTA.
"In fact, one-third of the agreement includes topics that were not included in the first agreement," he said.
Peña Nieto also said...
Step One to Stop Trade Wars: Ratify the USMCA Now
By Mark Wagoner, Touchet, Washington
via AgWeb - Nov 30, 2018
Time is ticking on trade—and our political leaders in Washington, DC must act immediately to protect American agriculture.
Farmers like me expressed relief two months ago upon the conclusion of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trade accord that updates NAFTA for the 21st century.
Yet all of the hard work that went into this deal won’t amount to anything if President Trump and the current Congress refuse to push for its passage by the end of this year.
It’s pretty simple: The next House of Representatives, which will assemble under Democratic control on January 3, most likely won’t approve a trade agreement negotiated by President Trump’s team.
It just won’t happen. President Trump could propose a bill that says the sun should come up tomorrow and House Democrats would vote against it. Their plan is to oppose every aspect of the president’s legislative agenda.
That’s why Washington must move forward on the USMCA right now. Failing to act would throw us back into the confusion and uncertainty we’ve been living with for far too long.
I had thought that with the USMCA, we’d finally gotten past the turmoil of the last few years. President Trump once called NAFTA “the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere.” Farmers worried that he’d make good on his threats to pull out—and hoped that he’d come up with a different solution because we rely on exports to Canada and Mexico.
Then came the USMCA, which the president quickly hailed as a “wonderful new trade deal.”
In truth, the agreements aren’t much different for agriculture: “The new USMCA looks a lot like the old NAFTA,” according to an analysis by the International Food Policy Research Institute.
That’s good enough for me: NAFTA was a significant agreement for farmers, supporting new opportunities for us to sell what we grow to customers in Canada and Mexico. I’d be happy to stick with the status quo.
The USMCA does make a significant improvement for U.S. agriculture: Under its provisions, American dairy farmers will gain better access to Canadian customers.
To be sure, the USMCA has a few faults...
Statement of Secretary Perdue on Signing of USMCA
Source: USDA Office of Communications
Nov 30, 2018
(Washington, D.C., November 30, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding the signing of the new trade pact, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), replacing the outdated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):
“I have often said that we live in the best neighborhood on Earth – North America – and the signing of a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada helps cement our highly integrated relationship as nations. President Trump has fulfilled a promise, which many said couldn’t be done, to renegotiate NAFTA and improve the standing of the entire American economy, including the agriculture sector.
“The new USMCA makes important specific changes that are beneficial to our agricultural producers. We have secured greater access to the Mexican and Canadian markets and lowered barriers for many of our products. The deal eliminates Canada’s unfair Class 6 and Class 7 milk pricing schemes, opens additional access to U.S. dairy into Canada, and imposes new disciplines on Canada’s supply management system. The agreement also preserves and expands critical access for U.S. poultry and egg producers and addresses Canada’s discriminatory wheat grading process to help U.S. wheat growers along the border become more competitive.
“This is good news for American farmers and we now need Congress to follow suit and enact the necessary implementing legislation. I commend President Trump and our U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Lighthizer, for their perseverance, leadership, and hard work.”
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.
USMCA Deal Falls Short of Fair Trade Framework for Family Farmers, NFU Says
Source: National Farmers Union (NFU)
Nov 30, 2018
WASHINGTON – Officials from the United States and Mexico today signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the renegotiated trade deal formerly known as the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The agreement will not have binding force in the United States until it is signed by Canada and approved by the U.S. Congress.
National Farmers Union (NFU) said that while USMCA makes important improvements over NAFTA, the deal currently does not go far enough to institute a fair trade framework that benefits family farmers and ranchers and restores sovereignty to the U.S. In response to the signing, NFU President Roger Johnson urged Congress to demand the administration make changes to the deal before ratifying it:
“For decades, family farmers and ranchers have taken a backseat to corporate interests in international trade negotiations. If allowed to take effect without changes, USMCA will continue this trend.
“President Trump campaigned against the major flaws in international trade agreements that the original NAFTA created the framework for, and rightly so. It is this framework that has led to our annual $500 billion trade deficit, exported jobs, lowered wages, and lost sovereignty. NAFTA renegotiation is a key opportunity to create a trade framework for our future.
“The reworked agreement makes improvements to eradicate ISDS—the dispute settlement system that gives corporations an unwarranted advantage over citizens—yet the agreement maintains ISDS provisions for some oil and gas companies. And while this is the first U.S. trade pact to include rules on currency manipulation, these rules lack the teeth they need to be effective. As of right now, only the transparency requirements are binding.
“Finally, the USMCA ignores the sovereignty Americans have lost as part of NAFTA, particularly with respect to food labeling. Canada, Mexico, and multinational meatpackers pressured Congress—using NAFTA provisions—to scrap the commonsense Country-of-Origin Labeling for beef and pork that American consumers and producers benefitted from. These labels should be allowed under a new USMCA.
“It is Congress’s constitutional duty to regulate international trade, including implementation of trade agreements that benefit U.S. citizens. NFU urges Congress to ensure the administration negotiates improvements to USMCA to create a fair trade framework that benefits family farmers, ranchers and rural communities.”
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National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.
Learn more about us at NFU.org.
U.S. Grains Council Statement On USMCA Signing
BY U.S. Grains Council News Release
via KTIC (NE) - November 30, 2018
U.S. A statement from U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight:
“The ceremony Friday to sign the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is an important next step in the new pact’s final approval and the process of modernizing the most important trade agreement to U.S. grain farmers and exporters.
“In the latest marketing year, Mexico and Canada again proved to be top buyers of U.S. feed grains in all forms, and both countries still hold significant potential for market expansion given the right trade policy frameworks and the robust market development we intend to undertake there with our partners...
USMCA gets signed; Clock ticking on farm bill
Legislative Watch: USMCA now has to be ratified; farm bill takes another step forward; USDA lowers ag exports, Pelosi voted in.
P. Scott Shearer, National Hog Farmer
Nov 30, 2018
During the G20 summit today in Buenos Aires, Argentina, President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement which will replace the 24-year old North American Free Trade Agreement. President Trump said, “This is a model agreement that changes the trade landscape forever.”
The agreement will now have to be ratified by the legislatures of the three countries which could take months. Mexico is expected to ratify the agreement in the near future. Congress and the Canadian parliament are expected to consider the agreement sometime next year.
The remaining question is when will there be an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico and the U.S. and Canada on ending the retaliatory tariffs on steel and aluminum. This is a major cost to U.S. agriculture.
Farm bill takes another step forward
The leadership of the House and Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee announced they have reached an agreement in principal on the 2018 farm bill.
In a joint statement Chairmen Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Ranking Members Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Collin Peterson (D-MI) said, “We’re pleased to announce that we’ve reached an agreement in principle on the 2018 farm bill. We are working to finalize legal and report language as well as CBO scores, but we still have more work to do. We are committed to delivering a new farm bill to America as quickly as possible.”
The next steps for the farm bill will be to finalize the legal text of the bill and for the Congressional Budget Office to score the final cost estimates of the agreement. Once those are completed, it is expected the leaders will release the text of the bill and the conference committee will approve the agreement. After the conference committee approves the bill, the farm bill will be considered by the House and the Senate. With less than 10 legislative days left time is of the essence.
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