WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today stressed the importance of passing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) during a speech on the Senate floor.
To watch Sen. Roberts’ speech, click here.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Madam President. I rise today in support of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. It is time move forward and pass this important legislation now.
As Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, producers in Kansas and across the country frequently and fiercely tell me how important this trade agreement is and how they need Congress to move quickly to get it done.
The USMCA will not only increase market access for farmers and provide new export opportunities for dairy, poultry and egg producers, but it will also address longstanding non-tariff barriers that will help our Kansas farmers export wheat to Canada.
In 2017, 110,000 Kansas jobs were supported by trade with Canada and Mexico. And while many of those jobs are spread across all sectors of the economy, many are tied to the agriculture value chain.
In total, Kansas exports $4 billion of products to Canada and Mexico each year; $800 million from agriculture alone.
It is nearly impossible for me to overstate the importance of this trade deal to my home state.
In Kansas, as in many other states across this country, this is not a partisan issue.
In fact, the call for Congress to get moving on this trade deal has united more people from different political and professional backgrounds than almost any other issue in recent memory.
I recently started a web series called “Trade Tuesday” to give a platform to the many constituents who have voiced their support to me for the USMCA.
We’ve featured farmers and manufacturers from around Kansas including Rich Felts, a farmer from Southeast Kansas and the president of the Kansas Farm Bureau. He says, “We are an exporting state. We produce much more than we are ever going to consume and if we want to grow our economy, specifically our economy in the state, we have to export the excess commodity. I think it is easy to say we want trade, we don’t want aid and this is going to be a step in that direction if we can get this passed by Congress.”
I couldn’t agree more with Rich on the importance of this trade deal to farmers and producers in Kansas.
But it’s not just the agriculture industry interested in getting the USMCA across the finish line.
We’ve also featured Jason Cox the President of Cox Machine, Inc., a small aerospace company based in Wichita, Kansas. He said recently, “Trade is very important to our business, both on the raw material supply side as well as the selling side. The USMCA is important for us to help lower the cost of the raw material that we buy and pass that savings along to our customers so we can get more work and produce more goods.”
Look, it’s been nearly a year since President Trump and the leaders of Mexico and Canada signed the USMCA on November 30th, 2018.
And we’re running out of time to get this deal done for folks like Rich and Jason and the many other workers whose livelihoods depend upon trade.
I hope that my friends in the House can quickly come to an agreement with the administration, so that we can all do what’s right by our constituents and get this passed this year.
And with that Madam speaker, I yield the floor.
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