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Pork producers support USMCA

19 November 2018, at 12:00am

Exports of US pork and other American agricultural goods to Canada and Mexico are expected to grow under the new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the National Pork Producers Council testified Friday at a hearing on the trade deal held by the International Trade Commission (ITC)

The Trump administration recently concluded renegotiations with Canada and Mexico on a modernised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – now known as the USMCA. As part of the deal’s ratification process, the ITC is providing the president, the US Trade Representative and Congress with independent analysis of and information and support on the agreement.

In addition to maintaining on pork traded in North America the zero-tariff rate that was included in NAFTA, the USMCA has strong sanitary-phytosanitary (SPS) provisions, including ones on plant inspection equivalence and plant auditing, that expand on rules contained in the old agreement and in the World Trade Organisation’s SPS Agreement, NPPC pointed out.

"The USMCA will maintain and strengthen our strong economic ties with our North American neighbours," testified Maria Zieba, NPPC’s director of international trade.

"Preserving the North American market is particularly vital to US pork producers, who have been suffering the consequences of retaliatory tariffs," particularly duties from China and Mexico.

To take advantage of the duty-free access afforded through the USMCA, said Ms Zieba, the 20 percent Mexican tariff on US pork must be lifted, and for that to happen, the United States needs to resolve a dispute over – and rescind the tariff on – Mexican steel and aluminium imports.

Mexico is the No. 2 export market for the US pork industry, which last year shipped more than $1.5 billion of product there. (Canada, which took nearly $793 million of US pork in 2017, is the industry’s No. 4 export market.)

"NPPC calls on Congress to expeditiously pass the USMCA so that US pork and other American farm products can be sent duty-free to America’s two largest export markets and so that US agriculture can continue helping to boost the US economy," Ms Zieba testified.

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