Senate passes USMCA

By Erin Voegele | January 16, 2020

The U.S. Senate passed legislation implementing the revised U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement on Jan. 16 by a vote of 89 to 10. The legislation will now be sent to President Trump for his signature.  

The USMCA trade pact was signed by the three countries in November 2018 to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the trade agreement on Dec. 19 by a vote of 385 to 41.

Once implemented, the USMCA is expected to benefit ethanol producers.

The American Coalition for Ethanol said the new agreement solidifies a multi-billion-dollar export market while providing more stable market access to farmers and instilling confidence in other nations that the U.S. is a reliable partner.

“Passage of the USMCA in Congress is welcome news to America’s farmers,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE. “NAFTA has been a success for American agriculture and the USMCA builds upon this successful trading relationship. Over the past 20 years, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada have tripled and quintupled to Mexico. For U.S. corn, Mexico and Canada have served as the industry’s largest and most reliable markets, and this agreement keeps the door open for related commodities, like ethanol and distillers grains. Although USMCA doesn’t set ethanol-specific trade provisions, its ratification positively reaffirms this long-standing relationship with markets next door as we enter into this new decade of market growth.”

The Renewable Fuels Association called USMCA a crucial trade pact that will benefit U.S. ethanol producers and economies across the nation.

“America’s ethanol producers look forward to seeing this important agreement in place,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the RFA. “Canada and Mexico are among our most important and reliable export markets for both ethanol and distillers grains, and we look forward to strengthening our trading relationship with the two countries. USMCA is a good deal for the U.S. ethanol industry, the farmers who support us, and our industry’s partners in Canada and Mexico. We thank President Trump and Congress for getting this done.”

Cooper said that, in 2019, Canada ranked second for ethanol exports from the United States, purchasing an estimated 22 percent of U.S. ethanol exports, and ranked in the top 10 for distillers grains. Mexico was the top export market for U.S. distillers grains in 2019, importing 19 percent of all U.S. exports, and ranked in the Top 10 for ethanol exports.