Now that inauguration day has come and gone in the U.S., many Canadians are wondering what impacts the Biden administration will have on Canada. Top of mind for the agricultural sector: what will trade relations look like?
Narrowing it down even more, what will Biden’s approach be to the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA)?
Tyne Morgan, host of the U.S. Farm Report, says from what she’s been hearing, the agreement — at least in the United States — does have bipartisan support.
“A lot of that has to do not just with agriculture, but also when you look at some of the provisions for labour, and some of the provisions for environment,” Morgan notes. “So it sounds like USMCA — the Biden administration likes that. In fact, one individual told me that there are some folks that view the USMCA as the gold standard for trade deals when it comes to labour and environment. So there may be some things to watch in there with how that framework was laid for other trade deals.”
There may not be a lot of issues with the USMCA, but as Morgan notes, there’s always the big question mark that surrounds China, whether we are talking U.S. or Canadian politics.
U.S. producers are hopeful that when it comes to trade relations with China, this Biden administration will be a paradigm shift. However, when it comes to agriculture, Morgan notes we may not be as high up on the list as we’d like to be.
“Labour and environment are going to be top priorities when it comes to negotiating with China,” she says. “It won’t be so much saying ‘okay, now you need to buy x amount of farm products.’ That may not be one of the standards in metrics that they use, instead, really focusing on environmental and labour issues,” Morgan emphasizes.