Opinion: Trump's trade deal with Canada and Mexico is a huge win for Americans - and it's time for Congress to pass it
- President Donald Trump agreed to an updated trade deal with Canada and Mexico last year, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.
- The deal includes a series of beneficial changes for American companies and workers.
- Given the economic benefits from the USMCA, it is time that members of both parties come together in Congress and approve the deal.
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Free trade is at the heart of the US economy. Each year, our companies sell more than $2.5 trillion worth of goods and services to customers around the world. Of those exports, nearly $300 billion worth of exports go to Mexico and another $360 billion worth go to Canada, two key markets for US enterprise.
The importance of these markets is the reason the US entered into a trade agreement with our North American neighbors 25 years ago and why President Donald Trump and his administration signed a new deal, a better deal - the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. And now it's time for Congress to reaffirm how important trade with Mexico and Canada is for the US economy and pass the USMCA.Our country recognizes the importance of these markets. A quarter of a century ago, the US entered into a trade agreement with our North American neighbors that helped to level the playing field and reduce barriers to trade for American job creators. But 25 years later, that trade agreement is no longer the best agreement for US businesses. That's why Trump and his administration signed the USMCA.
As it goes in Washington, there are lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who are not 100% pleased with the agreement. To me, that means the Trump administration negotiated a balanced agreement that deserves support from all members of Congress.
The USMCA updates the old agreement and ensures that American workers and families are put first. This is also a welcome agreement for industries that depend on free, fair, rules-based trade with Canada and Mexico. America's farmers, ranchers, auto manufacturers, and small businesses are set to gain once the USMCA is signed into law.
According to the US International Trade Commission, the USMCA will create 176,000 US jobs and add over $68 billion to the US economy - that is, in addition to the 12 million jobs already in the US that are supported by trade with Canada and Mexico. This positive report suggests that pro-growth policies promoting free, fair, and enforceable trade are a win for American workers and job creators alike.
Supporters of the USMCA recognize that this agreement contains provisions that will help make American job creators more competitive. For agriculture, those provisions provide increased access to Canadian dairy markets. For manufacturing, the USMCA establishes requirements that promote American-made cars and machinery as well as new worker protections to ensure American factory jobs do not get shipped overseas.
The economic boost comes from a number of provisions in the USMCA that will help American businesses and consumers, including increased access to Canadian dairy markets for farmers and requirements that promote American-made cars and machinery for manufacturers.The USMCA also established new rules around e-commerce, making it easier for American small businesses to connect and sell to customers in Mexico and Canada.
The USMCA is also a winning proposition for American innovators because it strengthens intellectual-property protections, alleviating worries about a competitor gaining access to their trade secrets.
With a positive economic outlook in hand, what is delaying congressional consideration of the USMCA?
On one side of the aisle, opponents believe the USMCA does not do enough to enforce the new worker protections. But the USMCA contains the strongest worker protections out of any of our nation's free-trade agreements, and these provisions are fully enforceable.
The USMCA also went further by requiring Mexico to update its own labor laws to better protect its workers. Mexico recently signed these reforms into law, illustrating that it is committed to upholding its end of the agreement. The US must now move forward to approve the USMCA, or else these new worker protections will not go into place in the US - and put American workers at a distinct disadvantage.
On the other side of the aisle, lawmakers called for the Trump administration to remove the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico as a condition for congressional consideration, but those have been lifted.
Concerns about the president's newly-announced tariffs on Mexican goods have also been raised. While I agree that more certainty in our trading policies is positive for the economy, Congress should not use the new tariffs as an excuse to delay consideration of the USMCA. It's time to get moving in order to ratify the agreement by the end of the summer.
From coast to coast and across industries, the USMCA is a win for Americans. It puts American workers first and levels the playing field for American-made products sold abroad. The USMCA is the modern free-trade agreement with Canada and Mexico our businesses have needed for so long. It's time Congress put its partisan differences aside and come together to put Americans first by approving the USMCA.Phil Cox is a cochair of the Trade Works for America Coalition and a former executive director of the Republican Governors Association.
This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.