Mark O’Neill, Media and Strategic Communications Director
For Immediate Release:January 16, 2020
(Camp Hill) – Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) is optimistic that a new trade deal signed between the United States and China and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which is headed to President Trump for his signature, will provide economic opportunities for struggling American farmers.
“Phase One of the new trade deal with China should benefit Pennsylvania farmers over the next two years, if China meets its commitment to annually purchase at least $40 billion worth of agriculture goods from the U.S. in 2020 and 2021,” said PFB President Rick Ebert. “American farmers, who produce soybeans, pork, beef, corn, dairy and seafood products, are expected to benefit from increased purchases from China.”
PFB indicated that the trade agreements should ease the burden on financially strapped farm families.
“Farmers across America have suffered financially over the past 21 months due to the prolonged trade war with China,” added Ebert. “The new trade agreement should boost hopes among farm families that there will be a new demand for their products.”
Farm Bureau noted that the USMCA improves upon the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was extremely popular among U.S. farmers, who saw the value of agriculture exports to Canada and Mexico increase from $8.9 billion in 1993 to more than $38 billion in 2018.
“The USMCA will provide additional market access for American dairy, poultry and wheat products in Canada, while maintaining the zero-tariff platform on all other agricultural products,” continued Ebert. “The agreement is expected to increase U.S. agriculture exports to Canada and Mexico by $2 billion and dairy farmers should net an additional $242 million from Canada, as more American milk products qualify for tariff-free status.”
PFB emphasized how critically important it is for Pennsylvania agriculture to have strong trade agreements with USMCA partners Canada and Mexico.
“Nearly 60 percent of all agriculture exports from Pennsylvania, which total more than $1.43 billion per year, were sold to Canada and Mexico under NAFTA, and those figures are expected to increase under the USMCA,” concluded Ebert.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization,
representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.