USMEC Trade agreement key to agriculture
Of the 39 million U.S. jobs dependent upon trade, 12 million are dependent upon trade with Canada and Mexico, something that Paul DeLaney, vice president for Trade and International at Business Roundtable, said is important for people to recognize.
Prior to NAFTA taking effect in 1992, DeLaney said one in 10 jobs were tied to trade, which has now doubled as a result of the U.S.’s integration in the global economy, a positive.
The Business Roundtable produces a number of reports regarding trade and, in doing so, breaks out each state’s dependence upon trade. With the current U.S. Mexico Canada agreement pending, DeLaney said it is his hope that the agreement will pass, strengthening the trade so important to the ag sector.
“The pork industry alone, we have $2.1 billion in exports in 2018 which is 32 percent of exports globally,” he said. “Similarly, on the corn side, Mexico is the No. 1 customer for U.S. corn. Combined, it’s about $3.4 billion last year, up 27 percent.”
DeLaney said the new agreement preserves duty-free trade, critical to farmers. Additionally, one improvement from NAFTA is the adoption of the best science-based rules and to promote the use of biotechnology.
The new USMCA agreement, he said, will be beneficial to agriculture to open new markets and protect trade, serving as an improvement to NAFTA, especially the dairy sector, by eliminating the Class 7 Milk Pricing Program.
In Nebraska, of the 277,000 jobs tied to trade, 83,000 are tied to North American trade. About a fifth of these jobs are supported primarily by agriculture. DeLaney said the ag exports have grown twice as fast as the GDP since 2007, concreting ag’s importance.
“It’s very important that this agreement move forward here with Congress and it will be positive for the farmers,” he said.
Nebraska exported $9.4 billion in goods and $2.1 billion in services in 2007 including meat products, leather and hide tanning, oilseeds and grains, and travel services. Nebraska is America’s seventh largest exporter of agricultural products including fourth in grains, nineth in swine, 19th in vegetables and melons and 26th in fruits and tree nuts.
In Wyoming, international trade supports 69,100 jobs, an increase of 45 percent from 1992 to 2017. Customers in 124 countries and territories purchase Wyoming-made goods and services. Wyoming exports, like Nebraska’s, have grown 7 1/2 times faster than state GDP since 2007. Wyoming is the U.S.’s 45th largest exporter of agricultural products, ranked 17th in cattle, 19th in sheep, goats and fine animal hair and 41st in miscellaneous crops.
International trade supports 720,800 Colorado jobs with exports of $8.3 billion in goods, and $15.2 billion in services to 205 countries. Unlike neighboring states, Colorado exports and state GDP have grown at an equal rate since 2007. Colorado ranks 33rd in agriculture exports, including 17th in vegetables and melons, 18th in cattle, and 20th in both sheep, goats and fine animal hair and greenhouse and nursery products.
Free trade, Delaney said, is the key to continued agricultural growth in these three states. Full study information is available from the Business Roundtable. ❖
— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (970) 392-4410.