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USMCA trade agreement praised at Statehouse

BOISE—In Gem County and across Idaho combines last fall brought in the 2019 wheat crop, now much more of that wheat will make its way to Mexico and Canada in trade.

Today at the Idaho Statehouse Idaho political and Ag leaders praised the United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal signed by President Donald Trump.

“I think its important to remember that nearly half of Idaho’s products are exported. So these markets are 'do or die' markets to Idaho. Canada and Mexico are our number one and two markets,” said Idaho Department Ag Director Celia Gould.

The USMCA trade deal updates the North American Trade Agreement, updating e-commerce, granting US tariff-free access to the dairy market, and granting our wheat into Canada without import limits on other products.

“I've been saying this for years, the United States has been getting out-negotiated on our trade deals. I thought we had a bad deal with NAFTA, I voted against it,” said Idaho Senator Mike Crapo.

Idaho Senator Jim Risch echoed the voices of Idaho Farmers. “We are free-traders we believe that borders should be open. We should be able to swap products and money back and forth. We did this long before governments and did a good job at it."

The new trade pact will help Idaho’s dairies, wheat industry, and potato farmers. “All potato growers ask for is a level playing field, Idaho potato can compete successfully in that environment,” said Frank Muir CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission. “I congratulate our Congressional Delegation, the Governor and all that worked on USMCA to make this happen.”

Idaho farmer and Vice President of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation Richard Durrant says this a farmers trade agreement.

“This is a trade agreement we can feel good about,” said Durrant, who not only grows wheat but brokers the grain as well. “This agreement will keep family farms in business,” he said.

Congressman Mike Simpson summed up the importance of the USMCA to Idaho Farmers. “The United States has 5-percent of the world population. We produce 25 percent of the world’s wealth, which means we better have trade agreements because 95-percent of customers are outside our borders,” he said.

Muir says the USMCA, and the other agreements “will expand four of the top 10 export markets for U.S. potatoes and potato products, and that could lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in growth for the U.S. potato industry.”