Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Wisconsin farmers hopeful USMCA passes Congress as window of opportunity closes according to Mexico's consul generalSubmitted: 08/13/2019
Stephen Goin
Stephen Goin
Reporter/Anchor
sgoin@wjfw.com

Wisconsin farmers hopeful USMCA passes Congress as window of opportunity closes according to Mexico's consul general
STEVENS POINT - Wisconsin farmers hurt by President Trump's trade wars could see some relief soon.

Mexico's representative to the Badger State believes the vicious cycle of tariffs and retaliation will end if Congress passes the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), replacing NAFTA in the process.

Trade with Mexico supports more than 97,000 jobs in Wisconsin. What's more, Mexico imports $3.4 billion worth of goods from America's Dairyland as one of the state's top export destinations, second only to Canada.

Under USMCA, Julian Adem, the Mexican Consul General to Milwaukee says exports from Wisconsin to Mexico are expected to increase.

"The window of opportunity is September, maybe October," said Julian Adem.

Adem imparted that message of urgency to Wisconsin farmers and manufacturers Tuesday in talks touting the expected benefits of USMCA following Mexico's ratification of the trade deal on June 19.  Central Wisconsin economic development group Centergy hosted the presentation at Mid-State Technical College in Stevens Point.

"The economic success of North America depends on a strong regional trade partnership," said Adem.

During his rermarks, Adem dedicated the most time to USMCA provisions that would raise wages for 40% to 45% of automobile workers to $16. American car makers would also be required to use 75% domestic parts, up from 62.5% under NAFTA, or face a 2.5% tariff.

"We admit that we're going to a be a trade zone and we're going to work together," said Adem.

Adem acknowledged that the $16 pay increase would not likely affect Mexican workers as the country's low cost of production could not support the economic influx. However, Adem was confident that USMCA's rigorous manufacturing requirements would not encourage car makers to move their factories out of his country.

"The risk exists, but I think after 25 years of developing an experienced workforce in Mexico and all the plants which are fully stocked and have the latest technology, it's still going to be more convenient than setting up shop from scratch in a country where the workers are untrained," said Adem.

On impacts to food production, farmers like Brian Wysocki with central Wisconsin potato and vegetable producer Heartland Farms feel the deal is long overdue.

"It can't happen fast enough. I wish Congress and the legislation would pass it sooner and not keep stalling," said Wyoscki. "I think we could benefit right away if it was enacted."

Farmer's like Doug Rebout with the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association hope the new agreement will quell the president's constant threat of tariffs, like those he almost imposed in May against Mexico over illegal immigration.

"Anytime tariff is [sic] mentioned it affects our prices and what we're getting paid on the farm," said Rebout.

In a series of tweets on June 7, the president announced that the previously announced 5% tariff on all Mexican imports was "indefinitely suspended."

"Mexico, in turn, has agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border," the President tweeted.

"We're hoping once this trade deal gets done, that all the tariffs with Mexico are also done," said Rebout.

Adem is also hopeful the tariff threats will cease under the new trade deal.

"We don't want the tariffs in anyway, this trade is the most important thing for us and we just proved it," said Adem.

He believes new labor laws adopted on May 1 in connection with USMCA that strengthen collective bargaining in Mexico will encourage Democrats in the House to ratify the trade deal even though it would give the president a political win.

"For political reasons, it's not so easy to give the President of the United States what would look like a victory," said Adem. "As the say, a feather in his cap."

Adem added that a recent trade deal with the European Union that restricts the use of common cheese names like "Asiago" and "Parmesan" would not affect American dairy producers.

He went on to say Mexico would be happy to move forward on a deal with the United States, even if Canada was no longer interested following October elections.


Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - More than 175,000 lights shined across Hodag park tonight.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Rhinelander Police Chief Lloyd Gauthier confirmed Thursday his department is investigating "activity" at the city's wastewater treatment plant.

The investigation into billing processes began two or three months ago according to Gauthier.

Gauthier did not provide any names or specifics. However, he did confirm the ongoing investigation targets a couple of former city employees and one that is not a city employee.

Gauthier says a decision regarding charges will be made within the next few weeks.

Gauthier says this investigation is not related to the Oneida County Sheriff's Department investigation of city employee misconduct. 

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Currently, people who want help need to dial a full 10-digit number.
 
A new proposal shortens that helpline number down to three numbers.

Mental health experts in Wisconsin voiced their opinion in support of the change.

Behavioral Health Administrator Donna Shimeck said it would make the hotline easier to use.

"The hope would be that this is going to be similar to the 911 number and reduce the stigma of reaching out for help when you're at your most vulnerable time," said Shimeck.

Shimeck said the change would streamline things for everyone

+ Read More

Play Video

WISCONSIN - The Family Care Medicaid program provides long term care to frail elders and adults with disabilities in Wisconsin.The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced this week the program will be funded through 2024.

"It provides long term care services that would otherwise only be available in a nursing home," said assistant director of the Rhinelander Aging and Disability Resource Center Joel Gottsacker.

Gottsacker says Family Care is unique because it allows people to get the help they need in the comfort of their own home.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Cancer survivor and State Rep. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) introduced a legalization plan to help Wisconsin join other Midwestern states in making Medical marijuana legal.

Under the bill, medical marijuana would be allowed in the form of liquid, oil, pill, tincture or as a topical cream.

Only patients with serious medicals conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, ALS, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder would be eligible to receive treatment.

"That's what we hope to do every single day when we are in the legislature, is to change things to make people's lives better," said Felzkowski.

+ Read More

Play Video

MINOCQUA - Most people think a career in the Air Force means flying planes.

A local recruiter wants young adults to know there are other jobs that can take them to new heights. 

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Wisconsin law states the windshield, side, and rear windows of a motor vehicle shall be kept reasonably clean at all times.

Sergeant Kurt Helke of Rhinelander PD said this is something he doesn't enforce aggressively, but he will pull someone over if he sees an imminent safety hazard.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: