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Congress, White House come to agreement on USMCA

Farmers Union Board to assess final text upon its release

11 December 2019, at 3:48pm

After many months of negotiations, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi announced today that the White House and Congress had come to an agreement on the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

At its quarterly meeting in September, the National Farmers Union (NFU) Board of Directors called for further improvements to the agreement before final passage. Specifically, they advocated greater protections to American family farmers and ranchers, including stronger labour, environment, and enforcement provisions; the revision of language related to the marketing exclusivity of certain prescription drugs; stronger anti-dumping protections for agricultural goods; and the re-establishment Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) authority.

Text of the agreement has not yet been made available, but early reports indicate that it makes the desired changes to pharmaceutical drugs and includes at least some improvements on labor standards. The status of the remainder of the board’s asks is still unclear; consequently, it is withholding conclusive judgement until the finalised language is released.

NFU President Roger Johnson released the following statement in response to the announcement:

“The free trade framework established by NAFTA has dominated our international trade deals over the past two-and-a-half decades, to the detriment of American workers – it has contributed to the movement of rural manufacturing jobs overseas, caused our national deficit to balloon, lowered wages, and eroded national sovereignty. Though we are encouraged by efforts to reform this framework, earlier drafts of USMCA did not go far enough to protect family farmers and rural communities. We are hopeful that this version incorporates the board’s recommendations; as soon as more details are available, I will call a special meeting of the NFU Board of Directors to decide whether we will support or oppose the final deal.”