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Lawmakers hope US-Mexico-Canada deal will aid struggling farm industry

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WPRI) — A deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been agreed upon by the US, Mexico, and Canada but it won’t be formally put in place until Congress passes the bill and it is signed by President Donald Trump.

The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will eventually replace NAFTA if it makes through Congress. Lawmakers say the deal will bring relief to the agricultural industry which is currently struggling.

Congressman Tom Reed, R-New York and a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, met with Trump regarding the need for Congress to act on this.

In upstate New York, dairy farmers have struggled because Canada refused to import their products, according to Reed, but he says the deal will open up more markets to them.

Veronica Nigh of the Farm Bureau says dairy prices have been low for five years.

“Most of the time with ‘ag’ prices you typically think that things hit a low price and then there’s some rebound,” she said.

But for dairy farmers, that rebound never happened, according to Nigh. The Farm Bureau says the USMCA would go a long way in adding extra security for farmers.

“That’s real money to real farmers where they’re actually making money, they’re actually investing in their farms, and they’re putting a little bit aside for a rainy day,” Reed said.

With the three countries agreeing to a deal, some relief could be in sight. But supporters like Reed must still sell the bill to a divided Congress.

“American workers, manufacturers, supply chains for our auto industry, rebuilding the core of U.S. steel back in the U.S. ground is something that is going to be a benefit of this agreement going forward,” he added.

Reed says Democrats and Republicans should be united on this issue to support American workers and farmers.