Central Illinois farmer hopes USMCA gets passed by House of Representatives after August recess

Local News

EMDEN, Ill.–A trade agreement could soon be reached between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

The USMCA, which is seen to be an update to the NAFTA deal, could soon be voted on by the House.

WMBD’s Matt Sheehan spoke with lawmakers about America’s current trade climate and with a farmer who says this deal could help the agriculture community.

“As farmers, we all wanna be able to produce a good crop and sell it for a good price. But we want to get that from the market,” said Tazewell County Farm Bureau President Kent Kleinschmidt.

Kleinschmiddt has been farming nearly 1,000 acres in Emden for decades.

He says is the USMCA passes, farmers could see more cash for their crop.

“This agreement, I think will help maintain prices even though they’re on the low side now. If they don’t get this agreement, I think they could drop even further. Which would further hurt our economy, as a farmer, Central Illinois, and agriculture as a whole,” Kleinschmidt said.

Kleinshcmidt has written letters to our federal lawmakers encouraging them to sign this deal.

Congressman Darin LaHood believes this trade agreement should be a priority when Congress returns from its August recess.

“Mexico and Canada are two of our largest trading partners. This agreement basically updates NAFTA, it breaks down tariffs, it allows our farmers to sell what I would argue are the best products in the world, with no barriers or tariffs to Mexico and Canada,” said Congressman LaHood.

Congressman LaHood believes this agreement will only improve relations between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

“Canada has already passed this in their legislation and they’re waiting for the U.S. to do it. Mexico has passed it in their legislature and signed it,” Congressman LaHood said.

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says President Trump’s trade war with China is the reason farmers are hurting.

She sent WMBD a statement saying quote, “Let’s be clear – China isn’t paying for this trade war, it’s families and farmers in our Congressional District who are shouldering this burden to the tune of more than $230 million. This makes no economic sense. I once again urge the president to pursue stable trade policies that will expand markets and grow the economy here in Illinois,” Bustos said.

Congress returns on September 9. LaHood says they have a window of about 3-4 weeks to sign the USMCA into law.

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