WASHINGTON, D.C. – Thursday morning, Big First District Congressman Roger Marshall, (R-Kan), joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers and farm trade advocates at a rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., promoting swift passage of the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement, the renegotiated incarnation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Marshall stood with Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Ranking Member and former Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas), and Ranking Member and former Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) at event.
Congress has returned from its August recess, and agriculture groups are mounting a push to get the trade deal passed by lawmakers this fall. After months of uncertainty regarding its passage on the House floor, Chairman Peterson noted he believes the trade deal will be passed “in the next month or two.”
“I’m optimistic,” Peterson told reporters after he spoke to those gathered.
“Canada and Mexico are America’s two best trading partners. It’s important we protect and continue these great relationships and move our trade practices into the 21st Century,” Marshall said. “Passage of USMCA is vital to our farmers, manufacturers, and energy sector. For months I have been demanding (House) Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi bring the legislation to the floor for a vote to deliver this trade deal for Kansas and all of the U.S.”
The rally took place in front of a 25-foot recreational vehicle decorated with pro-USMCA signs that had traveled 20,000 miles to 30 states and made 100 stops promoting approval during a “Motorcade for Trade” sponsored by Farmers for Free Trade, a bipartisan group.
Also present Thursday were Kansas Farm Bureau President Rich Felts, and American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy DuVall.
“We need Congress to pass the USMCA trade agreement to bring certainty to our already-positive trade relationship with our closest neighbors and build on that relationship with new opportunities and commitments,” DuVall said. “The benefits of the USMCA are clear.”
Estimates indicate we will gain more than $2 billion in additional farm exports and $65 billion in gross domestic product once the agreement is in place. “The farm economy is reeling from the trade war combined with weather challenges and six years of lower farm income. Farmers want and need a better trade outlook and passing USMCA is a great step forward,” DuVall said.
Marshall said the rally focused on the positive impact and billions of dollars the trade deal would deliver for Americans. “Kansas exports more than $4.4 billion in goods to Canada and Mexico annually,” he said.
The new agreement would secure greater market access for agricultural goods, protect intellectual property for all industries, and update the Rules of Origin to encourage more goods and materials to be manufactured in the U.S.
This is key for Kansas, he said. The top Kansas Exports to Canada and Mexico are: Transportation equipment, $1.4 billion; agricultural products, $738.6 million; and processed food, $722 million.
“Companies large and small across Kansas will benefit from improved trade with Mexico and Canada,” Marshall said.
While the United States, Mexico, and Canada have concluded a new, rebalanced agreement, NAFTA currently remains in effect. The USMCA can come into effect following the completion of trade promotion authority procedures, including a Congressional vote on an implementing bill.