USMCA Means Continued Access to the U.S. and Mexico for Canada’s Wheat and Barley Farmers

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The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) and Alberta Barley are pleased to see the successful conclusion of a new United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA), securing continued access for Canadian wheat and barley to the U.S. market – the largest export market for Canadian wheat and the second largest market for Canadian barley.

The agreement replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

For Canada’s wheat and barley farmers, the news is significant. Together, the U.S. and Mexico account for roughly 15 per cent of total Canadian wheat exports. Total Canadian wheat exports to the U.S. are 2.3 million tonnes per year, Canada’s largest export market. Canadian wheat exports to Mexico are roughly 950 thousand tonnes per year. Total Canadian barley exports to the U.S. are roughly 183,000 tonnes per year, making the U.S. Canada’s second largest export market after China.

The commissions thank Minister Chrystia Freeland for her leadership throughout the renegotiation of NAFTA and also thank Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay for his commitment to the needs of Canada’s grain farmers.

“About 90 per cent of American wheat imports are grown on Canadian farms, making Canada the dominant supplier,” said Kevin Bender, AWC Chair. “Maintaining access through NAFTA gives Canada a continued edge over our competitors which is very good news.”

“The renewed agreement is excellent news for Canada’s barley farmers,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Chair. “With a continued open border between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, we are extremely appreciative to both Minister Freeland and MacAulay for recognizing the needs of farmers who rely on exports.”

The commissions look forward to reviewing the full details of the agreement which includes retention of the Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism and measures to address U.S. concerns over grading of U.S. wheat in Canada.