Click here or on the picture above to watch Thune’s speech.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) this week discussed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the positive effects it would have on our agriculture economy. Thune urged Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives to indicate they would be willing to take up this trade as soon as possible to provide relief to our farmers and ranchers.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, I’ve come down to the floor a lot lately to talk about the agriculture economy.
“While our economy as a whole is thriving, our nation’s farmers and ranchers are still having a tough time, thanks to years of commodity and livestock prices below production costs, protracted trade disputes, and natural disasters.
“Mr. President, one of the most important things we can do to help our agriculture economy is negotiate favorable trade agreements for U.S. producers.
“Our nation’s farmers and ranchers depend on trade.
“In my home state of South Dakota, we export a substantial portion of the agricultural products we produce.
“Right now, though, farmers and ranchers are facing a lot of uncertainty when it comes to trade.
“There are a number of outstanding trade agreements, and farmers and ranchers are unsure what the rules of the road are going to look like in the future.
“That’s why I’ve urged the administration to wrap up negotiations on the various trade deals under consideration as swiftly as possible.
“I strongly support the administration’s goal of strengthening market access for our nation’s farmers and ranchers, and we’ve made real progress in negotiations.
“Now it’s time to push for a conclusion to these deals and give our nation’s agriculture producers certainty about what international markets are going to look like.
“There’s one deal however that we don’t need to wait for, and that is the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
“Negotiations on this trade agreement are finished.
“Mexico has already passed the agreement, and Canada is just waiting for the United States to act.
“All we need is for Speaker Pelosi to indicate her willingness to take up this deal, and the president will formally submit the agreement to Congress for approval.
“Mr. President, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is a big win for our nation’s farmers and ranchers.
“Canada and Mexico are the number-one and number-two export markets for American food and agricultural products.
“The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will preserve and expand farmers’ access to these critical markets and give farmers certainty about what these markets will look like long-term.
“I’m particularly pleased with the improvements the agreement makes for U.S. dairy producers.
“Dairy is an important and rapidly growing industry in South Dakota.
“Drive the I-29 corridor north of Brookings, and you can see firsthand the massive dairy expansion we’ve experienced in South Dakota over the past few years.
“The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will preserve U.S. dairy farmers’ role as a key dairy supplier to Mexico.
“And it will substantially expand market access in Canada, where U.S. dairy sales have been restricted.
“The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that the agreement will boost U.S. dairy exports by more than $277 million.
“The agreement will also expand market access for U.S. poultry and egg producers.
“And it will make it easier for U.S. producers to export wheat to Canada.
“Mr. President, I’ve spent my time today talking about the agriculture industry, but of course this agreement goes much further.
“The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will benefit virtually every sector of our economy – from manufacturing to digital services to the automotive industry.
“It will create 176,000 new U.S. jobs, grow our economy, and raise wages for workers.
“It’s time to pass this agreement and realize its economic benefits.
“Senate Republicans are ready to approve this agreement once the White House submits it to Congress – we’re just waiting for Democrat leaders in the House to indicate their willingness to take up the deal.
“It’s time for them to do so.
“Democrats’ concerns have been more than addressed throughout the negotiation process.
“The final trade agreement is perhaps the most worker-friendly trade agreement the United States has ever considered.
“And it’s a big improvement on the North American Free Trade Agreement – the agreement under which we’re currently operating – on the issues over which Democrats have expressed concern.
“If they’re serious about making progress on these issues and are not just trying to sink the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement with specious objections, Democrats should give the president the go-ahead and take up and pass this agreement in the near future.”