Date: 10/1/2018 12:00:00 AM

Title: Iowa cattlemen eager to see details of USMCA

For more than a year, Iowa’s cattle producers have waited with bated breath, hoping that the North American Free Trade Agreement would be renegotiated without harming the beef industry. On Oct. 1, a last minute agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, dubbed USMCA, was announced. USMCA is intended to replace the 24-year-old NAFTA trade deal.

Citing unfair provisions for the manufacturing industry, President Trump has made multiple threats to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement completely, however, NAFTA has been one of the greatest success stories in the history of the American beef industry. The agreement removed tariffs on U.S. beef exports to Canada and Mexico, developing roughly $2 billion in annual sales. Since NAFTA was implemented in 1993, U.S. beef exports to Mexico have increased more than 750%.

Renegotiations have been ongoing since August of 2017, causing uncertainty for two of the U.S. beef industry’s top export markets. In 2017, Mexico was the third most valuable export market for U.S. beef and Canada was fourth. The two countries account for nearly $70 per head of value.

“Our desire has always been to protect the market access and scientific standards that NAFTA has provided for the US beef industry for nearly 25 years. We are eager to hear more details about USMCA and hope that it will continue the successful trade relationship we’ve had with Canada and Mexico,” said JanLee Rowlett, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association government relations manager.

Each of the three countries involved must renew USCMA every six years. If it is not renewed, the agreement will expire after 16 years.

The new trade agreement does not affect any of the tariffs the U.S. imposed on steel and aluminum from Canada, and a 10% tariff on prepared beef products sent to Canada remains in place. The Canadian tariff was put in effect in July in retaliation for U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.

Congress must approve the new trade agreement, in a vote expected to take place next year.

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will continue to encourage trade agreements that are favorable for the beef industry, including a bilateral agreement with Japan and increased trade with China.


About the Iowa Cattlemen's Association: The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association represents nearly 10,000 beef-producing families and associated companies dedicated to the future of Iowa’s beef industry. ICA’s mission is “Grow Iowa’s beef business through advocacy, leadership and education."