A letter urging swift ratification of the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement has been sent to congressional leaders by nearly 1,000 agricultural and food associations.

“Over the last 25 years, U.S. food and agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled under NAFTA, growing from $9 billion in 1993 to nearly $40 billion in 2018,” the June 11 letter states.

“USMCA builds on the success of NAFTA and will ultimately lead to freer markets and fairer trade,” the letter states.

The modernized trade agreement, replacing NAFTA, makes improvements that will enhance exports and deliver an additional $2.2 billion in U.S. economic activity, the letter states.

A new report from the International Trade Commission says USMCA will improve market access for U.S. farmers, ranchers and food producers, likely raising U.S. GDP by $68.2 billion, the letter says.

Apple, almond, beef, bean, berry, cherry, cotton, corn, cattle, dairy, egg, grain, grape, potato, pork, poultry, rice, seafood, soybean, seed, timber and wheat groups are among the hundreds of signatories.

“Free trade in the North American market brought billions of dollars in sales to apple growers. It’s not an overstatement to say our vitality depends on continued free trade so we’re calling on Congress to ratify the USMCA as quickly as possible,” Jim Bair, president and CEO of U.S. Apple Association, said in a statement supporting the letter.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., so far has blocked USMCA. As speaker in 2008, Pelosi blocked a U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement negotiated by the Bush administration.

Central Washington field reporter

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