WASHINGTON, D.C. (KETK) – The Senate approved a sweeping new trade deal between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico Thursday.
The measure, passed by a 89-10 margin, now heads to President Trump’s desk for his signature.
USMCA is a major rewrite of trade rules between the U.S. and North American trading partners relating to agriculture, manufacturing and services. Lawmakers crafting and shepherding the legislation through its passage say it will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and protect American workers.
The bill passed the House last month after negotiations between House Democrats and the White House produced pro-labor revisions and killed drug exclusivity language lobbied for by the pharmaceutical industry.
The AFL-CIO was closely involved in the negotiations as were other labor organizations.
The new agreement will replace rules for moving products among the three countries first crafted under the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which essentially eliminated tariffs on most goods traded among the three countries.
Trump has repeatedly criticized NAFTA and during his campaign for president pledged to kill it and replace it with something better.
The passage pf USMCA, seen as a win for him, came just moments before the Senate accepted articles of impeachment from managers from the House of Representatives.
Robert McKnight, Jr., president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA), issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate today passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):
“We applaud the U.S. Senate for passing the landmark United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement today, and look forward to the president’s signature, finalizing U.S. ratification of the trade deal,” said McKnight.
“Like the U.S.-Japan trade agreement that took effect at the beginning of the year, this is yet another historic trade agreement that will benefit American cattle producers for decades to come.
“Each year, billions of dollars of U.S. beef will continue to flow to Canada and Mexico thanks to the hard work of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate and Trump administration, especially U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud. We sincerely appreciate their work on behalf of American agriculture.”Robert McKnight, Jr., president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA)
In 2018, beef exports to Mexico and Canada accounted for almost a quarter of the United States’ $8.3 billion in total beef exports. U.S. beef exports to Mexico accounted for a value of more than $1 billion. Exports to Canada reached almost $750 million.
Since duty-free access to Canada and Mexico began in 1994, U.S. beef exports to the two countries have increased by 750%.
Texas, which has more cattle than any other state in the nation, has greatly benefited from this duty-free access. In 2018, more than $357 million in Texas beef was sold Mexico, making preservation of free trade essential to Texas cattle producers.