Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles is scheduled to speak at the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association Convention and Ag Industry Trade Show at the Owensboro Convention Center this Friday at noon in Owensboro.
Quarles recently addressed the passage of the federal farm bill, issuing the following letter:
On the heels of the successful passage of the federal farm bill, and with a new year, there is a major opportunity to protect and expand market access for American agriculture in 2019.
The last year has been dominated by headlines about international trade and the tough tri-lateral negotiations involving the United States, Mexico and Canada (USMCA).
Now, a new trade framework has been proposed to replace NAFTA – USMCA. Under USMCA, the United States has rebalanced the deal to reflect American interests and the concerns of a 21st-century economy.
USMCA provides several updates to NAFTA, a trade agreement that originated in 1993. The world of the early 1990s was very different from the world we live in now. Since 1993, the internet has revolutionized the way all countries do business, and industries like agriculture and biotechnology have been transformed in the modern economy. Fortunately, USMCA addresses the new economy and includes a framework by which countries will have the opportunity to tweak the deal every six years.
There is particularly good news for the United States agricultural economy. Agriculture is dependent upon access to markets, and the USMCA increases market access for dairy, wheat, eggs, and poultry. Under the old trade agreement, 2017 United States agricultural exports to Canada were valued at $20.5 billion, which included 20 percent of Kentucky ag exports.
With these increases in market access, Americans can reasonably expect an increase in Canada’s purchasing of American agricultural products, which means more dollars in the pockets of our hard-working farmers. That, in turn, will result in more shipments flowing through critical riverports stationed along the Ohio River.