Over the weekend, the United States, Mexico and Canada reached an agreement to modernize and rebalance trade between the countries. The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will enable food and agriculture to trade more fairly, and could help expand exports of American agricultural products. All food and agricultural products that have zero tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will remain at zero tariffs. Other achievements related to the fresh produce industry include:
Setting Standards for Agricultural Biotechnology
For the first time, the agreement specifically addresses agricultural biotechnology to support 21st century innovations in agriculture. The text covers all biotechnologies, including new technologies such as gene editing, whereas the Trans-Pacific Partnership text covered only traditional rDNA technology.
Commitments to Reduce Trade Distorting Policies, Improve Transparency, and Ensure Non-Discriminatory Treatment for Agricultural Product Standards
Building on NAFTA, the United States, Mexico, and Canada agreed to work together on agriculture matters, improve transparency and consultations on matters affecting trade among the countries.
Enhanced Rules for Science-Based Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
In the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures chapter, the United States, Mexico, and Canada have agreed to strengthen disciplines for science-based SPS measures, while ensuring Parties maintain their sovereign right to protect human, animal, and plant life or health. Provisions include increasing transparency on the development and implementation of SPS measures; advancing science-based decision making; improving processes for certification, regionalization and equivalency determinations; conducting systems-based audits; improving transparency for import checks; and working together to enhance compatibility of measures. The new agreement would establish a new mechanism for technical consultations to resolve issues between the Parties.
To read the full fact sheet from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, click here.
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