Amid a deeply uncertain agricultural economy, Land O’Lakes and many in agriculture continue urging policymakers to maintain market access for U.S. exports and open the door to new export opportunities. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement is central to this effort.
Land O’Lakes leaders continued to advocate for trade last week during meetings in Washington, with President and CEO Beth Ford meeting with Members of Congress and the national media to push for USMCA approval.
While this issue continues to evolve by the day, here are the latest updates from the Land O’Lakes Government Relations team:
Where is the USMCA agreement in the policy process?
The USMCA has been signed by Canada, Mexico and the United States and now must be ratified by the legislature/parliament in each nation. Mexico ratified the agreement on June 19. Canada has indicated its Parliament vote will align with a vote in the United States.
In the United States, USMCA is subject to an “up-or-down" vote by the U.S. House of Representatives. The Administration has sent the agreement to Congress, and leadership in the U.S. House will determine whether and when to hold a vote.
Negotiations are ongoing between House Democrats and the administration in an effort to resolve concerns raised by the Democrats on several issues, ranging from environmental enforcement to drug pricing and labor concerns. Details of the negotiations are not being widely shared.
When will Congress vote?
It is not clear at this time and the window for a potential vote remains wide. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNBC on Thursday, “we hope that we’re on a path to yes. The most important issue outstanding is enforceability.” Recently, White House trade advisor Peter Navarro said “We're hoping to get this thing done within the next 30 to 60 days.”
Importantly, when a vote appears imminent, Land O’Lakes will contact member-owners with tools to contact your Member of Congress and urge them to support the agreement. Be on the lookout!
What is Land O’Lakes doing to promote USMCA approval?
Most recently, Land O’Lakes President and CEO Beth Ford was in Washington last week, where she continued to personally advocate for USMCA approval in meetings with key Members of Congress.
In addition to meeting with policymakers, Beth joined Business Roundtable CEO Josh Bolten and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon (who chairs the Business Roundtable) at a widely-attended DC media conference on the economy, where she again emphasized the importance of USMCA approval for agriculture.
Beth’s comments were covered in several prominent media outlets, including Roll Call, a leading publication on federal policy.
In addition to this week’s meetings, the Government Relations team has focused on trade and USMCA on a near-daily basis this year. Highlights of their achievements include:
More than 160 meetings with Congress. In 2019, Land O’Lakes staff members, as well as Elected Leaders and members of the Corporate Board of Directors, have participated in more than 160 meetings with Members of Congress and their staff to call for USMCA approval and open trade.
5 DC Fly-ins. Working together with our DC-based trade associations, Land O’Lakes has participated in five DC fly-ins this year, bringing members-owners and leaders to Washington to advocate on key issues such as trade
Major participation in an industry letter to Congress. This summer, organizations spanning U.S. agriculture called on Congressional leaders to advance USMCA approval. Over 900 organizations signed the letter -- including Land O’Lakes, Inc. and nearly 70 retail-owners!
Photo: Beth Ford meets with U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (KS) to discuss key issues facing the rural economy, including trade and USMCA, during a visit to Washington on Sept. 19. Photo courtesy Sen. Moran.
What can members do to help?
Land O’Lakes and our trade associations are closely tracking developments on USMCA. As we draw nearer to a potential Congressional vote, Land O’Lakes will call on our member-owners across the nation to leverage our shared voice as a cooperative and urge policymakers to support the agreement.
While timing remains uncertain, Land O’Lakes will contact members with easy instructions when we anticipate that messages to Congress will have maximum impact. Watch your email inbox for opportunities to contact your Member of Congress!
If you have additional questions about the USMCA trade agreement or other policy issues, contact the Government Relations team by email at email@example.com.