North Dakota Farmers Union President Mark Watne made the following statement on today’s passage in the U.S. House of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on trade.

“The USMCA will provide important stability, especially since Canada and Mexico were our two largest ag export markets last year. As I understand it, the agreement maintains our access to Canadian and Mexican markets and makes some modest improvements over NAFTA. We’ll be able to tap into the Canadian market on a few varieties of wheat grown here in North Dakota and it gives us a bit more access to sell dairy and poultry products into Canada.

“Unfortunately, we missed a huge opportunity to restore Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL). Without it, consumers still don’t know where their meat comes from and U.S. ranchers can’t take credit, or earn the income they deserve, for the high-quality meat they produce.

“The passage of USMCA is a step in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go to restore farmers’ and ranchers’ access to international markets. The loss of export markets over the last 18 months has really hurt us on the farm. We urge the Administration to continue making progress on China and repair the damage caused by trade wars.”

The U.S. Senate is expected to pass the new trade agreement sometime in January, before going to the president’s desk to be signed into law.