At Commodity Classic last week there was no avoiding people discussing trade issues. With the volume of carryover of agricultural commodities in the United States, exports are critical. Canadian farmers are also watching the U.S./China talks with keen interest, and the USMCA ratification as this issue greatly impacts Canada as well. The USMCA ratification is awaiting the thumbs up in all three countries but the path is not without obstacles.
It’s well documented that the U.S. congress’s ratification of the USMCA is a bit of a wild card at this point with the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
Spencer Chase, managing editor at Agri-Pulse, says, “(U.S. farm group) got the farm bill passed in December, and really they are just coming up with a whole bunch of ways to say we want the USMCA trade deal passed and we want this trade dispute with China to come to an end.”The USMCA passing is really on the minds of U.S. and Canadian farmers. There were several official and unofficial meetings between Canadian agricultural groups discussing trade and policy issues impacting their stakeholders.
“There is no doubt that in the corn, soybean, and wheat commodities, Canadian and U.S. farm groups see eye to eye on trade and want all three countries to ratify the deal as soon as possible,” says Shaun Haney, host of RealAg Radio.
There are still many questions on what happens to the section 232 tariffs before or after a ratification but they are very much a factor. This week at Commodity Classic, USDA Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue stated, “I expected the 232 tariffs come off when that agreement was concluded. If we can work from a quota system rather than a tariff system and get the tariffs back off, we can really go to town with ag exports.”
According to Chase there has been an unwillingness from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave to lift the tariffs but many people in the administration want to see those tariffs go but the tariffs did get Canada, Mexico and China to the table in the first place. As Chase points out now that Canada and Mexico have agreed to a deal they want those tariffs lifting with the ratification of the deal.
You can hear the full discussion between Shaun Haney and Spencer Chase, of Agri-Pulse, below.