MTPR

New U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Deal Affects Montana Grain Producers

Oct 1, 2018

Montana grain producers seem cautiously optimistic about the revamped North American Trade Deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

President Trump announced the deal Monday.

Nicole Rolf is the National Affairs Director for the Montana Farm Bureau Federation.

“From the initial reports we’re getting, it sounds very positive,” Rolf said.

The new U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, replaces the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Associated Press reports it give U.S. farmers greater access to the Canadian dairy market.

The Farm Bureau Federation’s Nicole Rolf tells Montana Public Radio early indicators suggest the same holds true for American grain farmers.

“Basically any American wheat that went into the Canadian market would be sold as a feed-grade wheat. Having it be automatically graded at the lowest grade because it wasn’t the same as their variety, we didn’t think was a fair-trade practice; consequently, there was very little American wheat going north. What we’re hearing is that those discriminatory type practices have been largely eliminated,” Rolf said.

Montana farmers and ranchers are still studying the new agreement and not yet ready to declare it a net win or loss for producers.

It does keep the former NAFTA dispute resolution process that the U.S. wanted to jettison.

The new USMCA still needs to be ratified by Congress, a step that could be affected by the outcome of next month’s mid-term election.