600+ business groups sign US Chamber USMCA letter: All in on ratification

USMCA ratification urged at National Association of Manufacturers fly-in in D.C.

Business groups across the nation are taking action in support of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which would replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers have activated businesses, trade associations and community leaders from each state to urge Congress to ratify the agreement. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spearheaded a coalition letter co-signed by more than 600 business and agricultural organizations representing every state and every sector. 

“More than 12 million American jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico,” the letter reads. “U.S. manufacturers export more made-in-America manufactured goods to our North American neighbors than they do to the next 11 largest export markets combined, and the two countries account for nearly one-third of U.S. agricultural exports. They are also the top two export destinations for U.S. small and medium-size businesses, more than 120,000 of which sell their goods and services to Canada and Mexico.”  

According to U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy, the letter emphasizes the importance of ratification.

“The thrust of the letter really is to show the extremely geographic and multisectoral support for the agreement. The fact that every state in the union and every sector of industry is represented sends an important message to Congress about the need to approve the agreement,” he said. “This agreement will preserve and modernize our trade ties to Canada and Mexico, which are by far our most important trading partners.”

Last week, a delegation of manufacturing leaders met with Vice President Mike Pence and other lawmakers on Capitol Hill to outline the importance of the USMCA to the manufacturing industry here in the United States. Part of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) delegation, executives from companies such as General Motors, PING, Emerson, and HM Manufacturing met with a bipartisan group of representatives and senators, pushing for legislation to be passed as quickly as possible in order to boost multiple industries that operate across the North American borders.

“Trade with Canada and Mexico supports two million American manufacturing jobs,”  Linda Dempsey, NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs said. “This agreement modernizes and strengthens this critical trade alliance and ensures that manufacturers in the United States can compete globally on a level playing field.”

Canada and Mexico purchase more U.S.-made goods than most trading partners the U.S. has, even though they make up less than four percent of the global economy. Exports to Canada and Mexico pump life into more than 40,000 small- and medium-sized businesses in the United States. And beyond manufacturing, other industries like the produce trade depend heavily on a solid working relationship with our neighbors to the north and south.

The USMCA is outlined to help modernize and boost free trade between the three countries, replacing NAFTA and helping out farmers, ranchers, and produce companies. The United States can expect to see expanded exports if ratified as well as improvements in intellectual property protections. Two-way trade between Mexico and Arizona, including trains, commuter vehicles, and commercial trucks, saw a 7.7-percent bump in 2018, bringing in more than $16.5 billion and nearly $28 billion worth of goods flowing in through our ports of entry. More than 228,000 jobs in Arizona are dependent on the annual trade and investment relationship with our border neighbors, according to a report by the Arizona Chamber Foundation and Arizona-Mexico Commission. 

“Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle were receptive to our message and reaffirmed their belief in the importance of a strong North American trade relationship,” Dempsey said. “There is still work to be done, but ratification of the USMCA remains our top legislative priority, and we are confident it will get done.”

Last month, in a sweeping 114-4 vote, the Mexican Senate voted overwhelmingly to ratify the new free trade pact. Now, the U.S. and Canada must take action for the trade deal to move forward.

Nick Esquer

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