USMCA Act signed causing many Texas government officials, Lone Star residents involved in Agriculture to celebrate

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The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement was signed by President Donald J. Trump in Washington, D.C. on January 29, 2020. Many representatives and leaders from West Texas were present for the signing. The agreement involves fair trade between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. To view the entire act, click here.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been outspoken about his support for this agreement on Twitter.

In a press release sent by the Office of the Governor, Abbott elaborated on his stance about the signing of this act and the benefits of the USMC agreement.

“Today’s signing of the USMCA trade agreement is a win for the Lone Star State and all of America. As the number one exporter in the nation, a strong relationship with our trade partners is vital to Texas’ booming economy and its unprecedented growth. Whether it be agriculture, technology, or energy industries, the USMCA will promote free enterprise and help create even more jobs in the Lone Star State. I thank the Trump administration and the Texas Congressional Delegation for their hard work and persistence to pass this monumental agreement, “Abbott said.

According to the Officer of the Governor, USMCA benefits to Texas include: 

  • Strengthened trade relationships with top trading partners: Texas has been the number one exporter in the country for the past 17 years and relies heavily on its North American trade partners. USMCA will allow Texas increased access to trade with Mexico and Canada, the state’s first and second largest export partners, respectively. In 2018, total trade between Texas and Mexico surpassed $216 billion ($109.7 billion in exports and nearly $107 billion in imports) and trade with Canada surpassed $47 billion ($27.5 billion in exports and $20.2 billion in imports).
  • Greater workforce opportunities and protections: Texas leads the nation in jobs dependent upon exports. With nearly 1 million people employed in trade with North American partners, USMCA will assist job growth in Texas. USMCA will also raise the bar for enforcement of labor laws, allowing Texas workers to benefit from higher wages and robust benefits. Innovative rules of origin will encourage more goods and materials to be manufactured in the U.S. and Texas and ensure that benefits of USMCA flow to North American workers.
  • Cross-border investment opportunities: Mexican firms invest $3.4 billion into Texas and Canadian firms invest $7.2 billion into Texas annually. USMCA will allow for greater foreign direct investment from Mexican and Canadian firms through expanded collaboration and efficiencies between the international markets.
  • Access for agricultural goods: According to a statement from the Texas Farm Bureau from December 20, 2019, current agricultural exports from Texas to North American partners amount to about $7.2 billion and stand to increase $2.2 billion under USMCA. In addition, USMCA is the first free trade agreement for the U.S. and Texas that addresses cooperation, information sharing and other trade rules related to biotechnology and gene editing.
  • Energy industry growth: Texas is the top energy-producing state in the nation and is the leader in both natural gas and crude oil production. In 2018, Texas exported a combined $22.8 billion in petrol and coal products and $10.8 billion in oil and gas to Canada and Mexico. USMCA opens up opportunities for Texas to create new energy partnerships and increase exports in energy, particularly natural gas, which accounts for a majority of Mexico’s electricity production and overall energy use. USMCA streamlines the regulatory process for U.S. LNG exports to Mexico and Canada, and provides new flexibilities in rules of origin certification requirements for oil and gas moving between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. It also fixes a longstanding issue in allowing hydrocarbons transported through pipelines to qualify as originating, provided that any diluent, regardless of origin, does not constitute more than 40% of the volume of the good.
  • Small business benefits: small businesses account for nearly 93% of all Texas exporters. New customs and trade rules will make it easier for small businesses to tap into foreign markets and participate in cross-border trade. Moreover, the USMCA eliminates local presence requirements for cross-border service providers, benefiting small businesses by removing the unnecessary burden of opening a foreign office as a condition for doing business.

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller also released a statement saying, “Time to buy a bigger tractor, because the USMCA is going to be great for agriculture.  More trade, fairer trade and bigger markets are all music to the ears of Ag producers here in Texas and around the country. When Texas farmers and ranchers win here at home, America wins around the world. Thanks again to President Donald Trump, Secretary Perdue and Ambassador Lighthizer who have worked tirelessly knowing American workers, farmers, ranchers and their families depended on this new trade agreement. I applaud their devotion to the USMCA and  congratulate them on this significant accomplishment. Mr. President, you said there’d be so much winning we’d get tired of winning- folks in Texas aren’t tired yet. Keep the victories coming for American agriculture.”

Photo courtesy of TSCRA

Representatives from the Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association were also present for the signing. Those members included TSCRA President Robert McKnight, Jr., Vice President G. Hughes Abell, Second Vice President Arthur Uhl, III and TSCRA Director Missy Bonds.

“It was a tremendous honor to participate in the USMCA signing ceremony at the White House today. The large presence of cattlemen from across the country underscores just how vital this agreement is to our industry. Mexico and Canada are two of our most important trading partners, and preserving duty-free access to their consumers has been among our top priorities. It is clear that President Trump and everyone in his administration share that priority. They recognize the critical role American cattle producers play in our economy and everyday life, and I thank everyone involved for their hard work and perseverance,” McKnight said.

The TSCRA also added background information about the beef trade saying, “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.”

The Texas Farm Bureau also released a statement on the new agreement.

Congressman for District 11, Mike Conaway, was also in attendance and posted his thoughts on his Facebook page.

Representative for District 19, Jodey Arrington, has also been active on Twitter sharing this thoughts throughout the day.

In San Angelo, Angelo State University Professor of Agriculture and Researcher Corey Owens was a guest on Senora Scott’s webcast, CVHP News, in December 2019 where he spoke on the topic.

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