Campaign News

KTTC: Rep. Craig talks USMCA impact in Pine Island

By: Sarah Gannon

PINE ISLAND, Minn. (KTTC) -- With the recent roll out of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Minnesota Congresswoman Angie Craig is looking to see how the trade deal is impacting her district.

She meet with members from the wine, trucking and farming industries on Monday and the overall reaction from those in attendance is that the USMCA is helping.

"We provide one of the safest food products in the world and that's what people come to us for," said farmer Keith Allen.

"USMCA is really a great modernization of the original NAFTA," Craig said. "It takes away the uncertainty of the administration complaining about NAFTA and at the end of the day it open ups additional opportunities for the Ag community in the U.S."

With the repeal of NAFTA and signing of the USMCA, farmers are looking forward to more certainty when it comes to selling crops, expanding markets for pork and poultry, and leveling the playing field in the dairy market.

"Farmers and ranchers really needed that certainty to make sure the markets with our two closest neighbors, Canada and Mexico, was there and not only did we maintain the zero tariffs we had on many Ag products, we moved forward in a lot of other areas," said Minnesota Farm Bureau Public Policy Director Amber Glaeser.

"On the dairy side of it, we're seeing new markets being opened up in Canada," Allen said. "On the grain side of it, producers are going to see more of their commodities going across into Canada and down to Mexico."

Under USMCA, business owners in the wine and trucking industries are looking forward to being able to sell products across the borders easier as well.

"We're very happy and hopeful that this agreement will be momentum for further agreements which will increase economic activity in transportation as a result," said James OBrien, Rihm Kenworth Regional General Manager.

"You could take a Minnesota $15 bottle of wine, bring it over to Canada and by the time they add the tariffs and taxes on it, it would be $30 to $35 in Canada," said Ron Stowell, Cannon River Winery President. "So we're trying to get that lowered so we're very, very competitive."

Allen says it's taking a bit to see the full benefits of the deal, but he is starting to notice some movement in the markets, which is a good sign.

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