President Donald Trump promised to get a better trade deal than NAFTA. But his final deal is essentially NAFTA rebooted.

Rep. Jim Hagedorn says Democrats are blocking approval, but actually the White House delayed sending the trade agreement to Congress, thereby pushing back the time required for the constitutionally mandated review.

Farmers need reassurance that international commodity trade will return to normal. A ratified Mexico/Canada trade agreement would be a small step in that direction. But there are serious concerns about some nasty provisions hidden in the agreement.

Point: The new USMCA gives the pharmaceutical industry a 10-year sweetheart deal blocking competition from cheaper Mexican and Canadian drugs. Not only will Big Pharma set astronomical prices here, they could gouge consumers in Mexico and Canada.

By placing a 10-year guaranteed protection into a trade deal, drug companies will block any U.S. legislation creating earlier competition. One company executive admitted blocking regulation by enshrining protection in an international trade agreement was their plan all along.

Farmers are hurting, partly from the loss of NAFTA, but more from Trump’s unnecessary trade war with China. The USMCA would be some small help. They would welcome any relief.

But know this: the Trump administration, with the assistance of Rep. Hagedorn, is using the farm crisis Trump helped create to force ratification of the USMCA without adequate congressional review.

I wish we had congressional representation with the courage to speak up and ask questions. We need an independent voice to advocate for us, not a parrot for President Trump’s noisy rhetoric.

Debra Hogenson

Waseca

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