The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) sent a letter signed by 39 of its state affiliates to US Senate and House leaders urging them to support the swift ratification of agreement.
The USMCA trade agreement was signed on 30 November 2018 by all three parties at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. Mexico ratified the agreement in June while Canada has tabled a bill in the House of Commons on the issue.
The letter, sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, is the NCBA’s latest attempt to build support for USMCA ratification, following the launch of a new media campaign to push the accord.
“American cattle producers need to maintain our unrestricted, duty-free access to markets in Canada and Mexico, and that’s exactly what USMCA would guarantee us,” said NCBA president Jennifer Houston. “Jeopardizing that access by having Congress not take action on USMCA is simply not an option for us.”
In addition to calling on Congress to quickly ratify USMCA, the letter also encouraged the Capitol Hill leaders to oppose efforts to re-instate “failed policies of the past”, such as mandatory country-of-origin labelling, or MCOOL.
“MCOOL was U.S. law for six years until it was repealed by Congress in 2015 to avoid $1bn of retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico that were sanctioned by the World Trade Organization (WTO),” the letter said. “The truth is MCOOL cost the U.S. beef industry hundreds of millions of dollars to implement, and the vast majority of consumers never paid attention to it. Our industry has suffered enough with this bad idea and we do not need to relive the sins of the past.”