The Kansas City Star published a guest commentary online last week from KLA President Barb Downey, who called on Congress to swiftly approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). She wrote that cattle and beef producers have a lot at stake in the decision on USMCA. The agreement would allow science-based, duty-free trade between the three countries to continue as it has under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Downey told readers since NAFTA went into effect in 1993, U.S. beef exports to Mexico have surged 545%, while exports to Canada have increased 106%. According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, U.S. beef exports during 2018 totaled $1.06 billion to Mexico and $745 million to Canada. The Wamego rancher attributed these lofty numbers to preferential access granted to U.S. beef producers through NAFTA. She expressed support for the same unrestricted market access for U.S. beef in USMCA.
“While USMCA improves on NAFTA in certain areas, it is pretty difficult from the beef industry’s perspective to do better than zero tariffs, zero quotas and science-based standards,” Downey wrote in the commentary.
She closed by encouraging the Kansas congressional delegation to take a leadership role in expeditiously ratifying the agreement.