Hoeven, Cramer pleased after Senate approves Mexico-Canada trade deal
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, both R-North Dakota, expressed support for a proposed North American trade agreement after it passed the Senate on Thursday, Jan. 16.
Senators approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement by an overwhelming 89-10 margin. If President Donald Trump and Canada's parliament approve the deal, it will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trump campaigned on getting rid of NAFTA and instituting an agreement more favorable to American workers and companies. The deal was originally announced in September 2018, but congressional Democrats demanded changes to the proposal. The Democratic-held House of Representatives passed an updated version of the deal last month with bipartisan support.
The new deal will be viewed as victory for Trump at a time when his impeachment trial in the Senate is just around the corner. The deal includes major new protections for American workers, many of which were negotiated by House Democrats, according to The Washington Post.
Cramer called the deal "a huge win for producers," but said it was a shame Democrats held it up for over a year.
"(The agreement's) implementation will stimulate the economy, create new jobs and increase exports with two of North Dakota’s top trading partners," Cramer said in a statement.
Nearly 88% of North Dakota's foreign exports went to Canada in 2018, while about 3% went to Mexico, the state's second largest foreign trading partner, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. North Dakota's exports to Canada have more than doubled between 2015 and 2018, with nearly $7 billion in exports heading north in 2018.
Hoeven said the new deal will benefit agricultural producers who made it through a difficult 2019 season.
"This agreement provides farmers and ranchers much-needed certainty with our two largest trading partners, helping to remove barriers and better ensure they receive fair treatment," Hoeven said in a statement.
North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring also praised the new deal, saying it will give a boost to producers and rural communities.
"It expands access for dairy, gives our wheat fair treatment in grading and enhances rules for sanitary and phytosanitary measures," Goehring said in a statement.
The deal would increase national gross domestic product and exports to Canada and Mexico, according to U.S. International Trade Commission.
South Dakota's Republican Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds voted in favor of the new deal and expressed their support on Twitter. Minnesota's Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith also voted for the agreement.