Oil and ag could soon see USMCA benefits

The trade agreement between the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is one step closer to ratification. This means farmers, ranchers and the oil industry could soon reap trade benefits with our two biggest export markets.

This week, the Senate Finance Committee voted 25-3 to move the USMCA to the full Senate and could ultimately pass later this month.

Supporters say tariffs would be eliminated for crude oil, gasoline and other refined products. They say it’s the foundation for new investments in Mexico’s natural gas and oil industry. Proponents say passing the USMCA means America’s ag community could see billion-dollar boosts.

North Dakota exported $7.1 billion in goods to Canada and Mexico, and Montana relies on trade with them as well.

Committee member Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, said, “In 2018 alone, Montana had $731 million in exports to Canada as well as Mexico. For our producers as well as our ag related industries in Montana, this would help provide certainty and alleviate some of the challenges and obstacles they faced over a very tough season back home in Montana.”

Those against the USMCA say it will hamper free trade, and it doesn’t do enough to address the climate change.

Canada still hasn’t ratified the agreement, and impeachment would have to take priority over other matters if it comes before the Senate, so it could slow down ratification of the USMCA.