Trade Deal to Provide Boost to Farmers, Workers, Manufacturers

December 19, 2019

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WASHINGTON D.C. – Today the House of Representatives passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Implementation Act (H.R. 5430), which sends President Trump’s signature agreement aimed at modernizing and significantly improving trade in America to the Senate for action.

The trade deal will provide Kentucky farmers with stability and higher levels of exports while opening access to new markets, including for dairy and poultry. The measure likewise levels the playing field for manufacturing industries who have been crippled by past trade policies, including providing strong oversight and enforcement of the practices of our North American trading partners.

“As a farmer by trade, former Commissioner of Agriculture, and a voice for the interests of Kentucky farmers and working-class people in Washington, I’m proud to stand in strong support of the USMCA,” Congressman Comer said. “The economic opportunity this agreement will provide for farmers, middle-class workers, and new and existing businesses is significant. I’m excited to see us finally take action on one of President Trump’s major priorities and look forward to seeing the deal fully ratified by Congress.”

The UMSCA updates and improves NAFTA, the 1990s trade agreement that has not been reformed or modernized in over two decades. The agreement was negotiated by President Trump over a year ago, who has been working with members of Congress from both parties to secure support for the measure.

Western Kentucky farmers commended Congressman Comer from his constant advocacy in the House of Representatives for taking up the USMCA. A member of the House Agriculture Committee, Comer has delivered multiple floor speeches and signed a series of advocacy letters pushing for action on the agreement in the months leading up to the final vote.

Brandon Hunt, a farmer from Christian County, said, “The trade deal that passed the House with Congressman Comer’s strong support will be critical to leveling the playing field and strengthening trade opportunities for rural Kentucky. As a major agriculture-producing area, Christian County is lucky to have a strong ally and advocate for our needs in Washington with Congressman Comer.”

Bob McIndoo, a farmer from Henderson County added, “The passage of the USMCA through the House is a huge step forward in providing farmers with more stability and opportunities to increase our exports. As a farmer, it is good to have a fellow farmer like Congressman Comer representing us in Washington, where he voices our concerns and provides leadership on important issues facing the agriculture community.”

Jed Clark, a farmer from Graves County, praised Congressman Comer’s leadership on the issue even in the face of delay tactics by House Democrats, who spent most of the year working to impeach President Trump. “While the USMCA should have been taken up by Congress much sooner, I am glad to see progress on an issue that Congressman Comer has led the way on: expanding trade access so that farmers like myself can sell our crops. Thanks to his and President Trump’s leadership and support on this issue, I am confident that we will soon have a much-improved trade deal with Canada and Mexico,” Clark said.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture estimates that Kentucky alone will boast $213 million in agricultural exports to Canada and $49 million in exports to Mexico under the USMCA. Further, 18,709 Kentucky jobs are estimated to be dependent on exports to Canada in Mexico, making action on a new agreement critical to economic growth and job creation.

“Without President Trump’s bold leadership, this new, pro-American trade agreement would not have happened. I look forward to continuing working with the President to create jobs and advance economic opportunity for rural Kentucky,” Congressman Comer added.