Senator’s Questions Focused on How Farms, Small Businesses Could Be Impacted
WASHINGTON – At a Senate Finance Committee hearing today on the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Senator Maggie Hassan discussed the impact the deal could have on New Hampshire farmers and small businesses.
Senator Hassan questioned former Agriculture Secretary and current President & CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, Tom Vilsack, regarding enforcement of the USMCA trade deal’s provisions that would prevent Canada from setting their dairy prices for skim milk and other Class 7 dairy products below market value. The existing policy undermines exports from Granite State dairy farmers who have to compete with these unfairly low Canadian prices.
“There's no question that the Class 7 did in fact hurt your dairy producers well as producers around the United States—and for that reason we strongly urge the Administration to take a tough stance in the negotiations on this issue,” Mr. Vilsack replied.
Mr. Vilsack noted that the USMCA deal would require Canada to eliminate its Class 7 milk prices within 6 months, but he expressed concern that the Canadians would try to replace the Class 7 price with a similar mechanism.
Senator Hassan agreed, “As you know Canada's supply management for dairy is not very transparent, so we need to have effective enforcement of the USMCA to ensure that Canada does not restrict its dairy market in some new way.”
Senator Hassan also focused her questions on how small businesses may be affected by the USMCA.
“Unfortunately, in both New Hampshire and Oregon, the Supreme Court’s backwards Wayfair decision has created massive uncertainty for online entrepreneurs. With all this uncertainty around internet sales tax collection, I believe that trade certainty for small online businesses is all the more important,” Senator Hassan said. She expressed her concerns about a provision in the USMCA that could lower how much small businesses can ship tariff-free.