New trade pact could impact local growers and ranchers in Central Valley

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Valley's Ag industry is applauding a move made by Congress to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Lawmakers have been haggling over this agreement for over a year.

The USMCA covers everything from auto production to e-commerce though valley farmers are most interested in the Ag connection.

Companies have sought a sense of market certainty in the wake of recent trade wars.

Manuel Cunha of the Nisei Farmers League says the USMCA could bring that, along with stricter labor and environmental enforcement -- leveling the playing ground for all three nations.

It would also increase access by dairy farmers into the Canadian market.

"I think what this gives us is an opportunity for a more balanced movement of goods in both directions, okay. Especially our products going in," said Cunha.

Cunha says a growing number of American farmers are growing crops in Mexico.

He is also encouraged by what he sees on the overseas trade front after the US also reached a limited trade agreement with China.

"There was an agreement not to raise tariffs by 25% more and I think they understand that this president will do it but I think he saw there was a door opening and that will be a benefit for some of our farmers but at least that door is open," said Cunha.

Cunha also calls the USMCA an improvement over a previous trade agreement, NAFTA.

The USMCA now moves to the Senate sometime after the new year.

President Trump helped negotiate USMCA and is expected to sign it into law...if it gets to his desk.
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