Home
About
Agencies
Agency RSS
Agency
Listservs
Archives
Multimedia
Subscribe
Contact

Governor's Column: USMCA: A Modernized Trade Agreement for South Dakota Producers





USMCA: A Modernized Trade Agreement for South Dakota Producers

By Governor Kristi Noem

August 23, 2019

 

In 1994, no one would have imagined that you could search the Internet from a phone that you carry in your pocket. In 1994, people watching the original Lion King film wouldn’t have thought of a live-action remake. In 1994, no one would have guessed that the denim-dominated fashion they enjoyed would make a comeback 25 years later.

 

A lot has changed since 1994, but one thing hasn’t: our trade agreements with our closest international allies. For more than two decades, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has set the rules of trade between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

 

These rules are incredibly important. Each year, South Dakota producers export $536 million worth of goods to Canada and $345 million to Mexico. They’re our closest trading partners. Now more than ever, we need an agreement that rebalances and modernizes the old rules of the road into a 21st century, high-standard trade deal that better serves the interests of farmers, ranchers, and businesspeople.

 

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, more commonly known as the USMCA, does just that. It would increase potential for global trade while giving producers the stability to grow, invest, and create more jobs in South Dakota. It would be an incredible shot in the arm for producers, especially in the midst of historically low commodity prices and the largest federally declared natural disaster South Dakota has ever seen.

 

Through the USMCA, Canada’s unfair milk pricing will be eliminated so South Dakota dairy farmers gain more export opportunities. Poultry producers will have new access for chicken and egg exports and expanded access for turkey exports. Small businesses will benefit from new rules that make it easier to tap into foreign markets and participate in cross-border trade. There are big wins for the auto industry and new standards to improve wages and labor conditions.

 

I was proud to help negotiate this agreement when I served in Congress, and I’m grateful for the strong South Dakota support for the agreement through Senator Thune, Senator Rounds, and Congressman Johnson. But they can’t do this alone. It’s time for Democrat congressmen and congresswomen from ag-based districts to put pressure on Congressional leadership and bring this agreement to the House floor.

 

With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside our borders, it’s imperative we have a framework where our farmers and ranchers can thrive. If we can’t reach consumers on a level playing field, our growth is limited. South Dakota farmers and ranchers produce the world’s best products; those goods ought to be sold in a marketplace that is fair, open, and competitive. Now is the time for Washington to put people over politics, support American agriculture, and ratify the USMCA. 

 

###