USMCA Overwhelmingly Passes in the Senate

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement passed out of the U.S. Senate by an overwhelming vote of 89-10 Thursday. For agriculture, USMCA is estimated to increase U.S. exports by $2 billion. The vote comes just one day after the United States signed a new trade agreement with China, which promises to increase ag exports by tens of billions of dollars. President Trump took to Twitter after the passage, saying “the farmers are really happy with the new China trade deal and the soon to be signed deal with Mexico and Canada.”
 
Now, the deal heads to President Trump for a signature. The president is expected to sign the agreement sometime next week during a formal ceremony. Mexico’s legislature approved the trade deal last month, and all eyes are on Canada to ratify USMCA. The Canadian parliament isn’t scheduled to return until January 27.
 

U.S. and China Sign Phase One of Trade Agreement

The U.S. and China have signed phase one of a trade agreement. President Donald Trump was joined by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the White House ceremony on Wednesday. “Today, we take a momentous step, one that has never been taken before with China, toward future fair and reciprocal trade,” said President Trump in opening remarks. After the signing, the text of the agreement was released. All details are public expect for specific purchase amounts.
 
During the address, Trump verified the phase one agreement includes over $200 billion in Chinese purchases of American goods and services over the next two years. That includes at least $40 billion in food, agricultural and seafood products annually for a total of $80 billion in the next two years. The president also said he would remove all U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports as soon as the two countries completed phase two of the agreement, adding “I do no expect there to be a phase three.”
 

Trade Agreement is Closer to Signing

A phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China is expected to be signed within a matter of days. While President Trump and Chinese President Xi are expected to participate in a signing ceremony, details have not been announced. The South China Morning Post says Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will be in Washington, D.C. this Saturday and the trip is expected to continue into the middle of next week. In an interview with Chinese state television, China’s ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, said China will honor its commitments in the phase one trade agreement. However, the ambassador said the U.S. must respect China’s sovereignty over Taiwan.

Dry Bean Trade Team Headed to the UK

A team of three industry delegates will head to the United Kingdom representing the U.S. Dry Bean Council for a packed week of business meetings with buyers and industry representatives in Manchester and London. The mission will wrap up with a visit to the trade division of the European Parliament in Brussels, where delegates will get an update on the implications of the ongoing tariff dispute that places 25 percent retaliatory tariffs on U.S. dry bean imports to the EU. Learn more about the trade mission.

Senate Approves FY2020 Budget

The Senate approved a fiscal year 2020 budget on Thursday, sending a $1.43 trillion spending bill to President Donald Trump and avoiding a government shutdown. The 2,300 page deal includes 13 appropriation bills.

U.S. House Ratifies USMCA

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on Thursday with a vote of 385 to 41. In a press conference ahead of the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the enforcement piece of the agreement is important. “We’ve made giant progress over the existing North American Free Trade Agreement. There was a big difference from what the Trump Administration proposed to begin with and where we ended up.” The Senate will vote on the trade legislation in January.

U.S. and China Come to Agreement

 
The news of a trade deal between the U.S. and China started to unfold this past week. Chinese officials were vague in a press conference today on the details, but did confirm an agreement on the context of a phase one deal. This includes an increase in agricultural imports. A 25 percent tariff will remain in place, but the penalty tariffs originally set to go into effect Sunday, December 15 will not be charged. Negotiations on the phase two deal will begin immediately. Read more.

Goehring Meets with Perdue, Wheeler

In a meeting with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring outlined concern with the surveys conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. “I filled mine out recently and I noticed that when I got to the area under corn, I still had almost 1,000 acres standing and there was no box for me to record unharvested acres. It was a box that had me identify what I intend to harvest and my potential production; that is assuming a lot when we don’t know what the losses could be.” Read more.

USMCA Deal Reached

The United States, Mexico and Canada reached a deal on tweaks in labor and steel and aluminum provisions in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. “There’s no question this trade agreement is much better than the North American Free Trade Agreement, but in terms of our work here it’s infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “It’s a victory for America’s workers and one I take pride in advancing.”
 
Mexico’s Senate has approved the changes made to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. On a 107 to 1 vote, Mexico is the first country to ratify the modified trade deal. Now, the USMCA needs approval from U.S. and Canadian lawmakers. The trade deal could come to the U.S. House floor next week for ratification.

CAFTA/DR Trade Agreement Nearing Full Implementation in 2020

For many years, the Dominican Republic has been one of the top export destinations for United States dry bean exports in the Americas. It is the top export market in the region (minus Mexico) for the period September – July 2019 at 26,000 metric tons. This is down slightly from the same period in 2018, which was recorded at 32,000 metric tons.
 
One of the reasons for this market success is the CAFTA/DR free trade agreement that went into effect in 2005. The agreement includes a tariff rate quota system that gives the U.S. the advantage of duty free market access for a specific quantity of exports every year until full implementation. Once the duty free quota is filled, preferential duties are offered on a sliding scale for up to 36,000 metric tons of U.S. origin dry beans. Read more.