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Daines, Tester praise passage of trade agreement between U.S., Mexico and Canada

Posted at 12:51 PM, Jan 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-16 14:55:41-05

MISSOULA — Montana Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines on Thursday praised the passage of a new trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, saying it will help bring stability to Montana farmers, ranchers and small businesses.

The USMCA, now years in the making, passed the Senate on an 89-10 vote with both Tester and Daines voting in support. After President Donald Trump signs the pact, it only needs Canada’s approval to take effect.

“Every Montanan working in production ag knows you need certainty and open markets to move your products,” Tester said in a statement following the vote. “The USMCA will help Montana producers regain the stability they’ve lost under this administration and makes progress on critical issues like Canada’s discriminatory wheat grading practices.”

The new agreement protects market access for Montana growers and small businesses, and modernizes the deal for digital trade. It also levels the playing field for the state’s grain growers in Canada.

According to Daines, the deal is expected to create more than 180,000 new jobs in the U.S. and is forecast to boost the nation’s GDP by $70 billion.

In 2018, Daines said, Montana exported $731 million in products to its trading partners in Mexico and Canada.

“This trade deal is a big win for our farmers, ranchers, and small businesses across Montana and the country,” Daines said. “This deal provides certainty for Montana ag and protects critical access to our two biggest trading partners.”

Representatives of Montana’s largest agricultural sectors also praised the deal on Thursday, including Vince Mattson, president of the Montana Grain Growers Association, who said it will bring stability to farmers who deal with two of the nation’s largest trading partners.

“It will serve as a pathway to better markets, improved prices and act as a stepping stone for many more trade agreements in the future,” Mattson said.