Viewpoint: New trade deal will benefit Iredell County dairy farmers

Posted at 2:38 PM on Oct 5, 2018



Earlier this week, as the deadline for joining our new trade partnership with Mexico was drawing near, Canada had to decide whether or not to join the United States and Mexico. We’ve heard some tough talk from the Canadian prime minister on trade, but he ultimately succumbed to pressure and joined. The new trade deal is called the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, and it now awaits ratification in the U.S. Senate.

I want to highlight a specific provision of the USMCA that deals with the dairy industry that should prove to be beneficial to Iredell County dairy producers. Under the new trade deal, U.S. dairy farmers will be able to access roughly 3.6 percent of the Canadian dairy market, up from the current 1 percent. This number is higher than what was originally agreed to under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which the U.S. pulled out of last year. So, this is good news, as Canada is essentially getting rid of their tariffs and unfair pricing system on American dairy farmers, allowing the U.S. to get increased access to the Canadian marketplace.

I don’t have to tell you the significance of this to Iredell County, which is the top dairy producing county in North Carolina with almost 8,500 more dairy cattle than the next closest county. That is a huge advantage for Iredell, and this product is significant for our local economy. Our dairy producers will gain access to a new marketplace, and this is significant because it will help them sell their excess supply.

My staff and I are still doing a deep dive into the USMCA, but initial reports look like this is a win for Iredell County and for our dairy farmers. Now the ball is in the U.S. Senate’s court. It is imperative that the Senate ratify this new trade deal that President Trump has secured for us.

Rep. Ted Budd represents Iredell County in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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