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Wheat groups applaud revised NAFTA pact


December 6, 2018

U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers released a joint statement last week in response to the Nov. 30 signing of the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The two organizations applauded the agreement’s provisions for wheat farmers.

The USMCA retains tariff-free access to imported U.S. wheat for longtime flour milling customers in Mexico.

“That is a crucial step toward rebuilding trust in U.S. wheat as a reliable supplier in this important, neighboring market,” Steve Mercer, vice president of communications for U.S. Wheat Associates, said in a statement.

In addition, the USMCA includes more open commerce for U.S. wheat farmers near the border with Canada. At present, under Canadian law, wheat grown in the United States but delivered to Canadian grain elevators is automatically designated at the lowest grade. Canadian wheat delivered to U.S. elevators may enter the system without penalty.

The disincentive for U.S. farmers when they would otherwise draw higher cash bids across the border is seen as unfair. The updated USMCA agreement would enable U.S. varieties registered in Canada to get reciprocal treatment.

After the presidents of the U.S., Canada and Mexico signed the deal Nov. 30, the U.S. Congress will now need to approve the agreement, along with lawmakers in the two other countries, in order for it to take effect.

The U.S. Wheat Associates’ mission is to develop, maintain and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers in more than 100 countries. The organization is funded by producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

The National Association of Wheat Growers is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working on behalf of growers, the industry and the general public.


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