Kansas farmers ask for USMCA ratification

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) is currently still up in the air and supporters of the deal are making a push for it.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R) of Iowa will be holding a press conference to discuss the agreement’s impact on the Midwest and some farmers are arguing for the USMCA as well.

The USMCA was created after the former NAFTA trade agreement was renegotiated.

The new deal would require changes such as stricter labor laws. Mexico has already introduced new legislation to change their labor laws to fit the USMCA.

The deal would also require 75 percent of an automobile’s value to be produced in the U.S., Canada or Mexico; this in comparison to NAFTA’s 62.5 percent requirement.

In the Midwest, farmers are coming together to show their support for the deal, saying it would strengthen trade ties between the countries and possibly boost their incomes after a tough few years.

“The Ag economy has been historically low, historically bad for the last few years,” said Glenn Brunkow, a Kansas farmer. “So anything we can do to sell more product and get our prices up would be really good.”

Brunkow said that his family, and many others like his, have had to make major cuts in order to survive.

“We’ve put off getting new equipment, we’ve put off repairs, we’ve put off family trips, those kinds of things, for several years now because our income has been really low,” adds Brunkow.

According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative website, Kansas exports 4 billion dollars worth of product to Canada and Mexico each year; $800 million of that is from agriculture alone.

The USMCA is currently at a standstill as both the United States Congress and the Canadian Parliament have yet to ratify the agreement. Mexico ratified the agreement in June.

If ratified, it is required that the three countries review the agreement every six years.

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