The U.S. Senate passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in a vote of 89 to 10. The new agreement replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which had been in place for 26 years. According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the USMCA will “advance United States agricultural interests in two of the most important markets for American farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses. This high-standard agreement builds upon our existing markets to expand United States food and agricultural exports and support food processing and rural jobs.”
All food and agricultural products that have zero tariffs under NAFTA will remain at zero tariffs. In addition, the new trade deal will create new market access opportunities for United States exports to Canada of dairy, poultry, and eggs, and in exchange, the United States will provide new access to Canada for some dairy, peanut, and a limited amount of sugar and sugar-containing products.
Notable, for the first time, the agreement specifically addresses agricultural biotechnology to support 21st century innovations in agriculture, which include new technologies such as gene editing. Specifically, the United States, Mexico, and Canada have agreed to provisions to enhance information exchange and cooperation on agricultural biotechnology trade-related matters.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the three countries initially signed the USMCA in 2018, but concerns over enforcement for labor requirements stalled the deal. In December, the U.S. House approved the legislation to implement the USMCA in a 385 to 41 vote. Now, the deal will head to U.S. President Donald Trump’s desk to sign into law.
“The passage of USMCA is great news for America’s farmers and ranchers,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in the USDA press release. “With Congressional consideration now complete, our farmers and ranchers are eager to see the president sign this legislation and begin reaping the benefits of this critical agreement.”
Nestlé Waters has announced that the entire plastic bottle range for the Swiss mineral water brand Henniez is now made of 75% recycled PET plastic (rPET).
Ardent Mills, a flour-milling and ingredient company, has announced its acquisition of Andean Naturals’ quinoa sourcing, cleaning, and packaging operation in Yuba City, Calif.
Dow has launched its call for entries for the 2020 Packaging Innovation Awards, an annual competition to recognize original thinking that is transforming the packaging landscape through enhanced user experience and improved sustainability.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched the United Nations’ International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) for 2020, which aims to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development.
A study published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics calculated that American households waste, on average, almost a third of the food they acquire—a value of $240 billion annually or $1,800+ per household/year.