Oklahoma Senator James Lankford Questions Trade Ambassador Lighthizer About Ag Provisions of USMCAWed, 19 Jun 2019 05:45:30 CDT
Oklahoma Senator James Lankford questioned US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer in a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday about the updates and improvements planned for North American trade as we move from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the US Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
Lankford asked USTR Lighthizer about how the USMCA will specifically affect automobile exports from North America, the benefits of USMCA versus NAFTA on the agricultural community, and updated digital trade protections in the USMCA as they compare to the Pacific Rim under the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In all of these areas, Lighthizer highlighted the benefits of moving away from NAFTA and toward the USMCA as it benefits American manufacturing, American wheat and dairy, and the further protection of digital trade items.
Specifically as it relates to the USMCA and agriculture-
Lankford: So let me ask this: because NAFTA has worked pretty well on ag in particular, what does USMCA benefit the ag community on thatís different than NAFTA? Thatís a greater benefit, just give me one or two examples.
Lighthizer: Well, one would be in the wheat area. We corrected the bad wheat labeling there. Number 2, they have up in Canada they have whatís called Class 7 and Class 6. Theyíve had a devastating effect on our dairy provisions, and I would say what was I most lobbied on by Members before we fixed it.
Lankford also continued to press USTR Lighthizer on the importance of renewing List 1 and 2 exclusions and the importance of rapidly working through exclusions for List 3. Lankford and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Import Tax Relief Act earlier this year, which would require the Executive Branch to create an exclusion process for List 3 (and any future list) of Chinese imports subject to Section 301 tariff imposition. The bill would exempt from tariff imposition those items for which there is no commercial access outside of China, items for which the tariff would increase the cost of living for low- and middle-income families in the US, and items that do not directly benefit from Chinaís non-market-based policies. Lankford and Coons also wrote to Lighthizer last week to urge him to continue to grant tariff exemptions to products that previously received an exclusion until the tariffs are completely lifted.
Click on the play button in the video box below to see the Q&A conducted by Senator Lankford with Ambassador Lighthizer.
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