Recently, Vice President Pence demonstrated the Trump Administration’s strong support for agriculture during a stop at Freitas and Sons Farms in Lemoore. Advocating for new and fairer trade agreement known as the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Pence stated, “This state already exports more than $48 billion in goods and services to Canada and Mexico alone. Under USMCA, we know that number is going to grow. It’s going to free up even more jobs and more opportunities in the city and on the farm, all across the San Joaquin Valley.”

On a hot summer day on the farm surrounded by tractors and hay bales, the event started with a panel discussion with America First Policies senior policy advisor Curtis Ellis; Steve Cozzetto, President of Century Rubber in Bakersfield;  Jeff Johnson, Vice President of Harris Ranch; and Joshua and Julie Freitas, event hosts with Freitas and Sons Farms. Panelists all made the case for modernizing NAFTA into a 21st century trade agreement. Themes included improving access and dairy outcomes and leveling the playing field for American agriculture and small business manufacturing.

The USMCA is a significant improvement to its predecessor, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), benefitting American patients, workers and businesses especially here in the Central Valley and Kern County.

According to the office of the United States Trade Representative, The United States, Mexico, and Canada concluded negotiations for a modernized and rebalanced trade agreement on September 30, 2018. The new USMCA will advance United States agricultural interests in the most important markets for American’s farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses. This high-standard agreement opens new markets to expand United States food and agricultural exports and support food manufacturing and rural jobs.

The USMCA will create market access opportunities for United States exports to Canada of dairy, poultry, and eggs, and in exchange the United States will provide new access to Canada for dairy, peanuts, processed peanut products, and a limited amount of sugar and sugar containing products, to name a few.

Vice President Pence urged everyone to call upon Congress to ratify the USMCA. “We are not going to allow outdated trade deals to hurt American farmers or American workers anymore. That’s why we need the USMCA.”  

Everyone should do their part to ensure Congress makes this trade deal a reality so our pillar of Kern’s economy can continue to thrive for generations to come.

SOURCEBy: Jeff Flores, Kern High School District Trustee
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