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By Peter Bachmann

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The modernized North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) replacement, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) officially enters into force today. The NAFTA re-negotiation, ratification, and implementation process took just over three years to complete from start to finish as the three countries jumped various procedural and bureaucratic hurdles.

“NAFTA was a boon for the U.S. rice industry, making Mexico our top export market and Canada one of our top export markets; this renegotiated agreement allows our industry to continue to maintain those great relationships with our partners to the North and South,” said Bobby Hanks, chair of the USA Rice International Trade Policy Committee and a Louisiana miller.

“We welcome the start of the USMCA, because the U.S. has been the primary supplier of rice to Mexico during NAFTA,” said Ricardo Mendoza, Executive Director of the Mexican Rice Council. “We believe that our commercial relationship can be strengthened with technological exchange between our countries; however, it is necessary to keep in mind that Mexico is in another trade agreement [CPTPP] where there are potential Asian suppliers that may disrupt this relationship.”

Hanks added: “The USMCA preserves our vital duty-free access with our neighbors and improves on the sanitary and phytosanitary provisions of the deal. We applaud the administration for bringing these talks to a close and implementing the provisions, now turning their attention toward other trade deals later this year.”

USA Rice has advocated for the ratification and implementation of USMCA since the accord was publicly announced in late 2018.  USA Rice also works closely with the Mexican Rice Council and its members to ensure that U.S. rice remains the prominent supplier of rice to Mexico through hundreds of consumer and foodservice focused promotions.

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