Beef Industry Leaders Form International Coalition to Advocate for USMCA's Speedy RatificationMon, 13 May 2019 10:48:04 CDT
Jennifer Houston is a cattle producer and marketer from Tennessee. She is also currently serving as President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. She recently led a delegation of American beef producers to Mexico to attend the annual convention of Mexico’s cattle industry association. In a recent conversation, Houston briefed Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays on the work that was accomplished during this meeting among leaders of the US, Mexican and Canadian beef industries. According to her, one of the main topics discussed during the meeting - the US, Mexico Canada Free Trade Agreement or USMCA - which has yet to be ratified by any of the member nations.
“We had very robust discussion during the meeting. We are all in agreement that this treaty needs to be ratified by all three countries as soon as possible,” Houston shared. “So much so, that we did agree on a statement that will be issued very soon asking all of our governments to get this done just as quickly as possible.”
Houston says both Mexico’s and Canada’s markets are very important to the US beef industry - Mexico’s in particular as it values the less desirable cuts that are of little worth here in the US. In fact, Houston says this market’s purchases of cuts like tongue, tripe and heart adds approximately $70 per fed animal in the US. Of course, this relationship and its value has been carefully cultivated over the past 25 years, under the North American Free Trade Agreement. One can empathize with beef producers when they learned of President Trump’s plans to nix NAFTA, who feared the loss of an agreement that essentially allowed free and unfettered access to both Mexico and Canada. However, Houston says the Administration throughout the negotiation process heard the ag community’s concerns and managed to retain that same access in the USMCA agreement. With that promise upheld, stakeholders in the beef industry have come together to back the new trade treaty and are now advocating for quick action to ensure its ratification. The Administration’s opposition though is reluctant to advance any of the President’s agenda. Houston says it is unclear when the USMCA will be ratified but remains optimistic that it will happen soon.
“I wish I had a crystal ball for a timeline, but we just continue to hammer that fact that it needs to happen as quickly as possible,” she said. “I’m hopeful that maybe something will be done by the end of the year. But you never know with Congress.”
Listen to Houston brief Hays on the concerted efforts between the US, Mexico and Canadian beef industries in advocating for the speedy ratification of the USMCA Agreement, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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