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Commissioner Miller Hosting Major Trade Meeting In Washington D.C. (2/25/2019)

AUSTIN – Today, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is in the nation's capital to preside at the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) meeting held in conjunction with the 2019 National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Winter Policy Conference. Miller is president of SUSTA.

With the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) hanging in the balance in Congress, timing of this vital trade meeting could not have come at a more opportune time.

“This is a watershed moment for U.S. trade policy,” Commissioner Miller said. “Fortunately, we are winning the trade war. The outlook for agricultural trade has never looked brighter and when American farmers and ranchers win, America wins. The core of American trade has always been agriculture.”

For example, U.S. soybean farmers saw an export record in market year despite the trade war with China. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. soybean farmers exported a record-breaking 2.6 billion bushels of U.S. soy and soy products, valued at more than $28 billion last market year.

Since taking office in 2015, Commissioner Miller has directed a major outreach initiative to market Texas across the globe, including trade visits to China, Cuba and every continent except Antarctica. Also, as a U.S. representative at the Tri-National Agricultural Accord, Commissioner Miller has worked directly with representatives in Mexico and Canada on agriculture related trade issues related to the replacement of NAFTA. Last year, Miller was named president of both the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) and the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture (SASDA).

SUSTA is a non-profit organization that facilitates trade between small to medium-sized southern U.S. companies and overseas importers. Since 1973, SUSTA has worked with multiple Departments of Agriculture including 15 southern states and Puerto Rico, to promote the export of high-value food and agricultural commodities. Through the Market Access Program, the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service partners with SUSTA and small businesses to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products

Once considered by President Trump for a potential cabinet position as Secretary of Agriculture, Commissioner Miller has advised the president on ag policy issues and has been a consistent advocate for the replacement of the antiquated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

If approved by Congress, The new USMCA will bring certainty and greater access for American agriculture.

In the new agreement all food and agricultural products that enjoyed zero tariffs under NAFTA will remain at zero tariffs under the USMCA. However, since NAFTA did not eliminate all tariffs on agricultural trade between the United States and Canada, the USMCA will create new market access opportunities for United States exports like dairy, poultry, and eggs, and in exchange the United States will provide new access to Canada for dairy, peanuts, processed peanut products, and a limited amount of sugar and sugar containing products.

Canada and Mexico comprise the largest global market for American farmers and ranchers, with farm and food exports valued at more than $39 billion in 2017. Of that, $7.2 billion comes from Texas agricultural exports alone.

“With agriculture states like Texas, Georgia, and Florida, SUSTA is a key influencer in U.S. trade policy,” Miller said. “We’re going to work with President Trump and Secretary Perdue to support the new USMCA and advocate for American trade. This is a great moment for America and especially Texas.”

An eighth-generation Texas farmer and rancher, Sid Miller is the 12th Commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA). A ten-time world champion rodeo cowboy, he has devoted his life to promoting Texas agriculture, rural communities and the western heritage of Texas. Learn more about the Texas Department of Agriculture and Commissioner Miller at www.texasagriculture.gov.

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For media interviews with Commissioner Sid Miller on this or other issues, please contact:

Contact: Maddison Jaureguito

(512) 463-7899