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Agri-Pulse reports:

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement would be an overall win for the U.S. farm sector, reforming biotechnology and phytosanitary standards, but it would also allow for only "slight increases" in exports of some U.S. agricultural commodities, according to a 379-page analysis released today by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).

U.S. dairy, poultry and egg producers will get a direct bump in exports to Canada from USMCA provisions, but Canadian dairy, sugar and sugar-containing products will also benefit from increased access to U.S. importers. In an ITC simulation considering only the market access provisions in the agreement, ag exports increased $435 million dollars and imports observed an $80 million hike.

Considering the agreement's overall language - including provisions impacting things like intellectual property rights, labor, and investment provisions - ag exports jumped $2.2 billion annually, a 1.1% increase.

But it's not fair to judge USMCA strictly on increased exports, according to organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Corn Growers Association. That's because the pact is essentially a continuation of the North American Free Trade Agreement that reduced most agriculture tariffs to zero more than two decades ago.

"The USMCA makes critical updates to rules on intellectual property, currency practices, digital trade, customs, state-owned enterprises, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade that will be valuable to many American farmers and businesses, even though their impact on GDP has historically been inherently difficult for economists to measure, said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp.

The bottom line is that USMCA is needed to keep the tariffs at zero and keep exports flowing to Mexico and Canada, two of the largest and most dependable foreign markets, according to the umbrella group Farmers for Free Trade.

To read Agri-Pulse' entire report click here.

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