TOPEKA — The trade agreement aligning economic forces of United States, Canada and Mexico earned bipartisan support of political leaders in Kansas eager to take advantage of opportunity to engage in exportation of agriculture and food products.
The revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement sought by President Donald Trump was applauded by U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, GOP Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle and 4th District Congressman Ron Estes.
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts and Moran voted Thursday with the Senate majority to pass 89-10 the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. All four Kansas members of the U.S. House endorsed the deal when it was adopted 385-41 in December.
Mexico has ratified the agreement, but it won't take effect until approved by Canada.
"Over one-third of Kansas exports go to Canada and Mexico," said Moran, a Republican. "Passing the USMCA is a major step in implementing this 21st-century trade deal and providing needed certainty for Kansas farmers, ranchers and manufacturers."
Kelly, in her second year as Kansas governor, said Kansas crop and livestock producers would benefit from removal of barriers to international trade.
"This is an important and welcome development in Kansas, especially as our farmers and ranchers struggle to rebuild after an historic year of natural disasters," Kelly said.
Mike Beam, secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture, said Mexico and Canada were the state's first and third largest export markets of agriculture commodities with more than $1.5 billion in trade during 2018.
The three-nation revised amid negotiations during the past year should help expand Kansas employment and lead to more good-paying jobs in the future, said Wagle, a Wichita Republican.
"After an initial announcement by President Trump more than a year ago, Kansas farmers, manufacturers and workers will finally begin to reap the positive benefits this free and fair trade deal will bring," Estes said.