The new US Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) will bring advancements in managing the trade of grains, oilseeds and their derived products in the North American marketplace, according to the US National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA).

On 1 October, Canada agreed to join the USA and Mexico in the USMCA deal that will replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The US Congress is expected to approve the USMCA in the coming weeks.

NGFA president and CEO Randy Gordon testified on behalf of the NGFA and North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) during a public hearing on 15 November as part of a US International Trade Commission investigation into the impact the USMCA would have on the US economy, industry sectors and consumer interests.

“The NGFA and NAEGA are pleased USMCA maintains and expands current agricultural market access and preserves the dispute-settlement process for anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases, while modernising the agreement to address the challenges of 21st century global trade.” Gordon said.

He noted improvements in the USMCA that would reduce non-tariff trade barriers which can occur when a shipment is detained by customs officers. The accord includes a policy whereby a party that restricts an importation of an agricultural product will have to notify and explain their reasoning in five calendar days.

“NGFA and NAEGA believe USMCA will help facilitate cross-border trade flows by addressing significant non-tariff trade barriers through higher levels of regulatory coherence and cooperation, the implementation of timelines and notifications for adverse import checks, the inclusion of steps to reduce the likelihood of trade disruptions involving products derived from agricultural biotechnology, the use of technical consultations to resolve sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues, and by requiring that SPS standards be grounded in science, based upon appropriate risk assessments and implemented using accepted risk-management procedures.” Gordon said.

He added that NAFTA and NAEGA believed USMCA represented “a significant advancement in facilitating the trade of grains and oilseeds and their derived products within North America.”

World Grain said that since NAFTA was signed, US farmers had quadrupled exports to Canada and Mexico.