March 08, 2021

Weekly Column: Working Hard For Idahoans As Finance Committee Ranking Member--Trade Policy Focus

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

Free and fair trade is vital for Idaho’s $4 billion export industry.  As Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over reciprocal trade agreements, tariffs and import quotas, I have welcomed the opportunity to continue to work to ensure fair and open market opportunities for Idaho and U.S. goods.  Over the past few weeks, I have released two guest columns outlining priorities in three key areas of the Committee’s jurisdiction—tax, health care and trade.  This third and final of the three columns is focused on international trade policy priorities. 

  • Access to Neighboring Markets—Canada and Mexico are among Idaho’s top overall trading partners, with those countries being the top two destinations for nearly half of Idaho’s roughly $2 billion food and agricultural export industry.  The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) became law last year, expanding market access for farmers and addressing longstanding non-tariff barriers restricting U.S. producers’ ability to export wheat and wine to Canada.  The USMCA has provided Idaho farmers, ranchers and small businesses with a trade agreement that has opened new trading pathways, while maintaining existing channels for top exports, including dairy, potatoes, canola and beef cattle.  This law took meaningful steps to ensure improved access to valuable export opportunities for Idaho’s farmers and ranchers, and I look forward to upholding the agreement and expanding on its success.
  • China—Last year’s Phase One trade deal with China took a meaningful step forward in improving trade relations with one of the United States’ biggest trading partners, and expanded market access and increased prices for Idaho wheat, dairy and beef producers.  The U.S. Census Bureau reports China ranks sixth among the top export destinations for Idaho goods in value of sales at $161 million for 2020.  I intend to work with the incoming Administration to ensure it advocates for more transparent and efficient systems for the review of agricultural biotechnology products, which are important to Idaho producers.
  • Ensuring Trade Partners Adhere to Trade Agreements—Building on the successes of these agreements, I will continue to support strong enforcement of our trade deals and press for policies that create a fairer climate for trade and expanded growth opportunities in the international marketplace for American businesses and consumers. 

Idaho producers and businesses are feeding and providing innovative products to fellow Idahoans, Americans and people around the world.  In statistics from 2020 illustrative of Idaho’s abundant production, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture reports, Every day, if Idahoans were to consume all products produced within the state, every resident would need to devour: 203 slices of bread; 44 potatoes; 2 onions; 2 pounds of cheese; 2 pounds of beef and 3 cups of beans.  I look forward to continuing to use my leadership role on the Senate Finance Committee to help ensure Idaho producers have clear paths in getting their plentiful, high quality products into worldwide markets.

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