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U.S. farmers frustrated at slow progress in Congress approval of USMCA

Christian Fernsby |
U.S. farmers are "growing frustrated" that USMCA, a new trade deal between the United States, Mexico and Canada, "seems to be stalling in Congress," said advocacy group Farmers for Free Trade.

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Topics: U.S.    FARMERS    USMCA   

rmers are "seeking certainty" that the enormous export gains they saw under the North American Free Trade Agreement will be continued under the upgraded USMCA, said Angela Hofmann, co-executive director of the group.

"This is one issue they expect Democrats and Republicans to work together on," Hofmann said in a statement, one day after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said House Democrats are nearing a deal with the Trump administration to secure changes to the USMCA.

"We are within range of a substantially improved agreement for U.S. workers," Pelosi said in a statement on Monday. "Now, we need to see our progress in writing from the Trade Representative for final review."

House Democrats have negotiated for months with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on changes to the USMCA in four major areas: labor, environment, enforcement and prescription drug provisions, according to U.S. media.

Pelosi's remarks came after U.S. President Donald Trump blamed the House speaker for not moving the trade deal forward earlier in the day.

"U.S. farmers have had a rough go of it lately which makes it even more essential that this agreement is passed. We can't wait until the agreement gets hijacked by politics," said former Senator Blanche Lincoln, a spokesperson for Farmers for Free Trade.

"Farmers, ranchers and the broader rural economy needs this now," said Lincoln, who was also the first Arkansan to serve as chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture.

Pelosi, however, has cast doubt on the possibility of Congress passing the USMCA this year. "I'm not even sure, if we came to an agreement today that it would be enough time to finish, but it just depends on how much agreement we come to," Pelosi said last week at a press conference.

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