President Trump promised to negotiate trade agreements to get better deals for America and protect American jobs. Bottom line: He delivered.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect in 1994 and is overdue for an update. So much in our economy has changed since then, meaning Americans are now in need of a stronger trade deal that finally includes some of the newest and most productive parts of our economy.
The president's United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will help the U.S. remain the world’s leader in innovation through new intellectual property protections, including data protection for biologic drugs, copyright protection, and defenses against theft of trade secrets. The agreement also includes enhanced digital trade and financial services protections missing from NAFTA.
According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the ratification of the USMCA will drive an explosion in American economic growth. Every major industry sector in the U.S. would be positively impacted by the USMCA, with blue-collar manufacturing jobs seeing the most significant gains.
The latest job numbers show the continued streak of historically low unemployment and increasing payrolls. With the ratification of the USMCA, we could see upwards of 176,000 jobs added to the already-booming economy and an increase of more than $68 billion to our GDP.
Many industries in my home state of North Carolina will greatly benefit from the USMCA. Currently, 32,000 jobs in North Carolina rely on trade with Canada and Mexico. These trading partners also represent North Carolina’s two largest markets for exports, together worth $10 billion for the state. Of these exports, 73 percent come from small- to medium-sized businesses.
Mexico’s Senate overwhelmingly voted to ratify the agreement. Canada’s Parliament is right behind them. Once the USMCA is sent to Congress, the House has a responsibility to step up and swiftly ratify the agreement.
The new agreement is critical to America's economic prosperity. The longer Congress stalls on its passage, the longer American businesses remain unprotected and unable to reap the benefits of this agreement.
I hope my colleagues across the aisle are paying attention. The verdict is in: a majority of Americans support the passage of the president's negotiated trade agreement.
Now is the time to ratify this agreement. If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to stall on this deal for political optics, it would be a defiant slap in the face of the American people — farmers, small business owners, laborers, and manufacturers alike. Delaying the USMCA further shows the disconnect between Washington and those we work for back home.