In this file:


·         Economist says no USMCA ratification might lead to recession

·         USTR makes USMCA pitch to House Democrats

·         Trump, Dems On USMCA Collision Course



Economist says no USMCA ratification might lead to recession


By Larry Lee, Brownfield

March 13, 2019


An ag economist says while many are focused on getting a trade deal with China, he’s concerned about something else.


Dr. David Kohl from Virginia Tech tells Brownfield getting the new USMCA agreement ratified is vital. “This ratification of the agreement, if it doesn’t happen, it could push us into a recession.”


Kohl says not ratifying the USMCA would cause problems in supply chains in addition to reducing agricultural sales. “What you would see is inflation, and you would see shortages, and eventually this would come back to hit the farmers, but it would also come back to hit the consumer. There will be some unhappy campers.”


Kohl tells Brownfield having USMCA ratified would also stabilize energy prices. “We’re the number one energy producer...


more, including audio interview [10:28 min.]



USTR makes USMCA pitch to House Democrats


By Bill Tomson, AgriPulse



The Trump administration, seeking to gain support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement from apprehensive House Democrats, sent its chief trade adviser to Capitol Hill Wednesday morning to try to sell the pact and address lawmakers’ concerns.


“This was just the opening opportunity to try to persuade (Democrats),” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., told Agri-Pulse after the meeting with Lighthizer. “There was some vigorous discussion in the room.”


Lighthizer declined to comment to reporters, but in the closed-door meeting he did tell lawmakers that “he was open to suggestions,” Neal said.


Democrats have a lot of suggestions and concerns, most of which have to do with labor, environment and pharmaceutical provisions in the renegotiated North American trade pact. Reps. Judy Chu, D-Calif., and Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., voiced frustration over what they and others say are a lack of enforcement measures in the pact to ensure Mexico will follow through with a pledge to improve salaries and conditions for workers in automobile plants.


Mexico’s USMCA pledges to raise wages and give union members access to collective bargaining are seen by Democrats and Republicans as key stopping U.S. factories from moving south of the border to take advantage of cheap labor.


“We’re depending on (Mexico) to pass the (labor) laws and … meanwhile they’re asking for our votes on this agreement,” Chu said, stressing she felt very unsatisfied after the hourlong meeting with Lighthizer. “My question was, ‘What if (Mexico) doesn’t pass the laws? What are the consequences?’”


Democrats didn’t get an answer to that, said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who also praised Lighthizer for coming to Capitol Hill and stressed that she and other Democrats want to support the trade pact.


“He’s listening, which is a very good thing for him to do,” DeLauro said...





Ag industry seeks USDA oversight of GE animals




By Ryan McCrimmon, POLITICO

03/14/2019 10:00 AM EDT


With help from Liz Crampton


TRUMP, DEMS ON USMCA COLLISION COURSE: House Democrats are looking for assurances that Mexico will carry out labor commitments it made in the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that require changes to Mexican law. After a caucus meeting Wednesday with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Democrats appeared inclined to wait for the Mexican government to make the necessary changes to its labor laws before the House considers a forthcoming bill to implement the new trade pact.


USMCA specifies the ratification process could be held up...