Fruit of the Poison Trees, Vines, and Bushes: The USMCA’s Failure to Address Cross-Border Food Safety ConcernsBy: Jacob Shepherd
In October, 2018, the Trump administration announced that the United States-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement (“USMCA”) had been signed, and farmers throughout the US breathed a sigh of relief. When the Trump administration pulled out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”), US farmers were impacted by new trade barriers that arose between the former bloc countries, with an estimated annual average of $63 billion dollars of agricultural exports to Canada, Mexico and China caught in limbo while a new deal was negotiated. USMCA is a return to the NAFTA status quo in most areas of agriculture, though it does promise improvements for producers of certain agricultural commodities – specifically, USMCA creates new access for US wheat and dairy producers to sell products into the Canadian market. Despite these gains, however, the USMCA negotiations represent a squandered opportunity to tackle the increasingly important issue of food safety in the fresh produce supply chain.