U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade policy, today discussed the committee’s recent bipartisan passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which moves the bill one step closer to final approval by the full Senate.
Click here to watch Thune’s speech.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, yesterday morning the Senate Finance Committee passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
“I was pleased to vote to move this agreement one step closer to final approval by the full Senate.
“The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will benefit almost every sector of our economy, from manufacturing to digital services to the automotive industry.
“It will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, boost our economic output, and increase wages for workers.
“The agreement breaks new ground by including a chapter specifically focused on small and medium-sized businesses – the first time a U.S. trade agreement has ever included a dedicated chapter on this topic.
“Roughly 120,000 small and medium-sized businesses around our country export goods and services to Mexico and Canada, including a number of businesses in my home state of South Dakota.
“USMCA will make it easier for these businesses to successfully export their products.
“South Dakota businesses and consumers will also benefit from the fact that the agreement maintains the current U.S. de minimis threshold, something I fought hard to protect.
“I am particularly excited about the benefits that USMCA will bring for farmers and ranchers.
“Farmers and ranchers have had a tough time over the past few years.
“Low commodity and livestock prices, natural disasters, and protracted trade disputes have left farmers and ranchers in my home state of South Dakota and around the country struggling.
“I spend a lot of time at home talking to farmers and ranchers.
“And again and again, they’ve emphasized to me that the most important thing Washington can do to boost our nation’s farm economy is to conclude favorable trade deals.
“That’s why I’ve spent a lot of the past year pushing for adoption of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and why I’m so pleased that we’re finally moving to approve this trade deal.
“Canada and Mexico are the number-one and number-two markets for American agriculture products.
“The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will preserve and expand farmers’ access to these two critical export markets, and it will give farmers certainty about what these markets will look like long-term.
“I’m particularly excited about the improvements the agreement makes for dairy farmers.
“Drive the I-29 corridor north of Brookings, and you can see firsthand the major dairy expansion South Dakota has experienced over the past several 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.
“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.
“It will make it easier for U.S. producers to export wheat to Canada.
“Mr. President, yesterday’s Finance Committee vote was a long time coming for South Dakota farmers and ranchers.
“Months of delay by House Democrats left agriculture producers wondering if they’d ever see the benefits of this agreement.
“But we have at last been able to move forward, and I look forward to full Senate passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement in the near future.”