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Strain: USMCA major victory for agriculture

July 1, 2020

Baton Rouge, La. (July 1, 2020) – Today, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) goes into effect. Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said it is also a major victory for Louisiana farmers and ranchers.

“USMCA modernizes the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by increasing market access for American farmers and ranchers. It also supports fair trade practices and includes key provisions increasing markets for U.S. rice, wheat, dairy, poultry, eggs and many other agricultural products,” said Strain. “Louisiana stands to benefit by increased trade in grains, rice and textiles.”

Strain added, “As we cope with a global pandemic, the USMCA provides food security by markedly increasing our capacity for trade with two of our largest trading partners in the world. It also enhances rural economic development as we are an export nation.”

Strain was instrumental in the Tri-National Agricultural Accord, in Ontario, Canada in 2016 and Guadalajara, Mexico in 2017 where he led a delegation of senior agricultural leaders and signed a memorandum of understanding with Canada and Mexico which became a foundation for discussion on USMCA. The Tri-National Agricultural Accord consists of senior state and provincial agricultural officials from Canada, the United States, and Mexico who meet annually to work collaboratively on agricultural trade and development issues.

Canada and Mexico are the first and second largest export markets for United States food and agricultural products, totaling more than $39.7 billion food and agricultural exports in 2018. These exports support more than 325,000 American jobs.

Strain said Louisiana exported goods valued at over $3.57 billion to Canada and $9.22 billion to Mexico in 2018. The top Louisiana export products to Canada and Mexico include $ 4.9 in petroleum and coal products, $2 billion in chemicals, $1.2 billion in agricultural products and $720 million in oil and gas.

Rice is one of Louisiana’s largest crops. More than one-third of rice grown in the United States is exported to Mexico, accounting for over 900,000 metric tons. Additionally, Mexico imports significant amounts of poultry and eggs, corn, soybeans and cotton from the United States including Louisiana.