USMCA Signed, Farm Bill and Climate Change

Nov 30, 2018  | 4 min  | Ep4415

This Saturday night will be anything but relaxing for many in rural America as they wait for results from a post-dinner meeting between President’s Trump and Xi. What happens between the two trading giants could go a long way to determining future global economic health.

Peter Tubbs looks at other major policy happenings in climate and forestry sectors.


The UNMCA, an updated version of the NAFTA trade agreement, received signatures of leadership from Mexico, the United States and Canada at the G20 Summit in Argentina Friday.

President Donald Trump: "As part of our agreement, the United States will be able to lock in our market access to Canada and Mexico, and greatly expand our agricultural exports - something we've been wanting to do for many years. This is an amazing deal for our farmers and also allows them to use cutting edge biotechnology and eliminates non-scientific barriers. 

The trade pact is still waiting on approval from both houses of Congress, and won’t be discussed until new members of Congress are sworn into office in January.

Work on the new Farm Bill appeared to near the finish line this week. Leadership from the House and Senate Agriculture Committees issued this joint statement:

“We’re pleased to announce that we’ve reached an agreement in principle on the 2018 Farm Bill. We are working to finalize legal and report language as well as CBO scores, but we still have more work to do. We are committed to delivering a new farm bill to America as quickly as possible.”

Sen. Charles Grassley, R- Iowa: “That a compromise except in the area of forestry, has been reached, and because there are some other committees involved in the forestry section, that now leaves it up to a couple of other committees to wave in, weigh in on some things that deal with cleaning up the clutter in forests so you don’t have forest fires so easy.” 
No timetable for the final version of the Farm Bill has been announced. 

Funding for management of forests on Federal lands was a final sticking point and will likely be part of a different bill. The Forest Service wants funding to remove underbrush that fuels wildfires in Western states. The House version of the Farm Bill included those provisions, while the Senate version did not. The nutrition language will likely be adjusted, but not overhauled.
Wildfires were mostly contained in the West this week as fire crews were swept away by massive rainfall on the scarred areas of Northern California. 
USDA and Interior leadership toured the region early this week, just hours after the president derided a climate change policy report. 
Ryan Zinke, U.S. Interior Secretary: "In my mind no doubt the temperatures are getting hotter, the season is getting longer. We're in drought conditions with the moisture content is much lower because of the drought. Now taking that as a backdrop, it doesn't relieve you of the responsibility to do what you can to mitigate the fires.”
The U.S. government through 13 agencies issued report warning of the potentially massive impact of climate change both environmentally and economically.
President Donald Trump: “I’ve seen it, I’ve read some of it, and it’s fine. I don’t believe it.”

For Market to Market, I’m Peter Tubbs



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