The United States Chamber of Commerce issued a call to action to members of the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month, encouraging them to prioritize the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.
Signed by U.S. Chamber president Suzanne P. Clark, the letter urged members of the House to meet with local business leaders and chambers of commerce to better understand the benefits of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, also known as USMCA.
“The next few months are critical for our economy and national prosperity,” the letter reads. “While many parts of the economy are strong, such as employment and wage growth, others are weakening, such as manufacturing and business investment. To keep our economy growing, it is imperative that our nation’s elected leaders take steps to restore certainty and boost business confidence.”
Canada and Mexico are currently the second- and third-largest goods trading partners to the United States, with a combined $1.2 trillion in two-way goods traded last year. According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods and services to Canada and Mexico supported approximately 2.8 million jobs in 2015.
A two-week congressional recess earlier this month featured 60 USMCA-related events across 13 states, 36 of which were hosted by chambers of commerce.
“We’re trying to build a drumbeat of support for USMCA, and we were very gratified that companies and state and local chambers of commerce across the country really stepped up during the recess,” said John Murphy, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber. “Reports we got during the events were really positive about the growing support in Congress.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week that the House would be moving forward with the agreement soon. “I can honestly say that I think every day we’re becoming closer,” Pelosi said in a news conference last Thursday.
House Democrats have cited four areas of concern with the agreement: enforcement of the deal, drug pricing and environmental and labor standards. However, U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer has assured the public that these hang-ups will soon be revolved.
“There are some very specific asks there, and we at the U.S. Chamber think it’s quite a reasonable issue that the Democrats have raised in that area, and we’re optimistic it can be resolved,” Murphy said.
Due to the nature of the agreement, most of the negotiations are largely confidential, Murphy emphasized, meaning updates on the USMCA will be infrequent and relatively vague. However, organizations and citizens in support of the agreement can stay engaged on social media by following the hashtag #USMCAnow.