“A huge step forward in the effort to stabilize the uncertain trade environment.”
SPOKANE, WA, July 01, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ — The Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG) and the Washington Grain Commission (WGC) are hailing the implementation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) as a huge step forward in the effort to stabilize the uncertain trade environment wheat growers have been dealing with over the past few years.
“The road to updating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada has been long and uncertain. We appreciate the efforts of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to bring the USMCA to fruition and thank members of Congress who have supported this trade agreement” said Ryan Poe, WAWG president and a farmer from Hartline, Wash. “The success of implementing the USMCA proves to our other trading partners that the U.S. is open for business and willing to establish trade agreements that are beneficial to both parties.”
The USMCA entered into force on July 1, 2020, following notification that Mexico and Canada had taken the steps necessary to comply with their commitments. The updated trade agreement contains significant improvements and modernizes approaches to rules of origin, agricultural market access, intellectual property, digital trade, financial services, labor, and numerous other sectors.
From the beginning, WAWG and the WGC have been prominent advocates for the USMCA. Our grower leaders have made multiple trips to Washington, D.C., over the past few years to meet with members of Congress to educate them about the importance of a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. Our growers have also hosted roundtable discussions about the need for the USMCA and worked with our federal delegation to provide them with trade and market information about the wheat industry.
“Washington wheat growers sell the majority of their crop to overseas markets, so any trade uncertainty is cause for concern,” said Gary Bailey WGC chairman and a grower from St. John, Wash. “While Mexico and Canada are bigger markets for Midwest wheat growers than Washington growers, having that stability and demand is good for the entire wheat industry. We’ve put a lot of time and energy into advocating for the USMCA, so we are gratified to see it go into effect.”
The Washington Grain Commission was created in 1958 as the Washington Wheat Commission by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) with the support of Eastern Washington farmers. The goal of the group, as explained by the director of the WSDA at the time was, “to do as a group what cannot be done alone.” The name of the organization was changed to the Washington Grain Commission in 2009 when barley came under the auspices of the organization. The current commission board is made up of seven farmer members, two industry representatives and a representative of the WSDA.
An assessment levied on wheat harvested in Eastern Washington at the rate of three-quarters of one percent of the net receipts at the first point of sale, supports the commission. An annual assessment on barley is levied at the rate of 1 percent of the net receipts at the first point of sale. Money collected from assessments is used to fund research, market development and education.
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