Freeland asks for quick USMCA ratification

Freeland asks for quick USMCA ratification
Jan 27, 2020

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Canada will be the last country to finalize the agreement

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Canada’s deputy prime minister is asking the opposing political parties to see eye to eye on an important trilateral trade pact.

Chrystia Freeland wrote an open letter to the leaders of the Conservative and Green parties, the NDP and the Bloc Québécois on Jan. 26 calling for a quick and smooth ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“I ask that we work together, as colleagues, to put Canada and Canadians first, and get this important work done without undue delay,” Freeland said in the letter. “I sincerely hope that you will join me in this essential, national effort.”

The NDP and Bloc have called for extensive reviews of the agreement while the Conservatives could support a quick ratification process.

The Greens are “fairly optimistic” about supporting the agreement, said Jo-Ann Roberts, the party’s interim leader, CBC reported.

Mexico has already ratified the deal and U.S. President Trump is expected to sign the agreement on Wednesday. The provisions within the USMCA take effect 90 days after all three countries have finalized the agreement.

Freeland’s letter highlighted some of the victories Canada secured during the negotiations.

From an ag perspective, “the agreement maintains tariff-free access to the U.S. market for Canadian ranchers and grain farmers,” she wrote. “It preserves supply management in dairy, eggs and poultry. While the U.S. objective was to fully dismantle supply management in Canada, we have preserved it for future generations.”

Canada conceded some of its dairy market during the negotiations. The federal government has committed $1.75 billion in compensation to offset dairy market losses in USMCA, CETA and CPTPP trade talks.

Some farm organizations are echoing Freeland’s call for a speedy USMCA ratification.

Multiple industries rely on good trade agreements. Passing this deal quickly will benefit Canada as a whole, said Jeff Nielsen, chair of the Grain Growers of Canada.

“Canadian grain growers – and any Canadian who relies on trade with our closest partners – need tariff-free access as soon as possible,” he said in a statement. “If we don’t join the USA and Mexico in ratifying (USMCA), growth opportunities with our largest trading partners will be stunted.”

Farms.com has reached out to the other federal parties for comment in response to Freeland’s letter.

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