State and national business community makes final push for USMCA as vote nears

Nearly 70 organizations and businesses from across Arizona sent a letter this week to the state’s congressional delegation urging its members to vote to pass legislation that would implement the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the legislation later today.

“Trade with Mexico and Canada is a critical component of Arizona’s economic competitiveness,” the letter read. “Almost 50% of all Arizona exports go to Mexico and Canada, and more than 228,000 Arizona jobs rely on this trade.”

In addition to large business advocacy groups like the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Greater Phoenix Chamber and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the letter was signed by local chambers of commerce including those from Lake Havasu, Gilbert and Glendale — to name a few — as well as private businesses such as UPS, Tucson Electric Power and the Phoenix Suns.

The United States Chamber of Commerce this week also sent its own coalition letter to Congress, signed by more than 700 chambers of commerce and industry associations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, urging legislators to swiftly pass USMCA.

“USMCA is critical to our economic future because it will preserve and strengthen U.S. trade ties to Canada and Mexico,” the letter read.

“More than 12 million American jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico. 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.”

The U.S. Chamber sent an earlier version of the letter in July.

Thomas J. Donahue, CEO of the Chamber, issued a statement earlier this month following news that the Trump administration and House Democrats reached a handshake deal to move forward with USMCA.

“We thank U.S. Representative Robert Lighthizer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, and members of the House Democrats’ Working Group for their leadership and hard work,” Donahue said in the statement. “We are optimistic this development will open the door to final approval of USMCA on a bipartisan basis by the end of the year, which will especially benefit American farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses. We look forward to reviewing the details of the deal with our members and assessing their impact.”

The letter to Congress — sent Dec. 17 and addressed simply to “members of the United States Congress” — said approval of USMCA will ensure U.S. manufacturers, farmers and service providers can continue to access markets in Canada and Mexico.

“USMCA will also modernize North American trade rules,” the letter continued. “For example, when NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement] was negotiated a quarter century ago, there was no e-commerce; consequently, the agreement did not address this sector. While no trade agreement is perfect, USMCA’s updated trade rules in areas such as digital trade, services, and non-tariff barriers promise substantial benefits.”

Arizona organizations that signed the letter include: the Arizona Chamber, the Arizona Manufacturers Council, GPEC, the Latina Coalition of Ports and Borders, the Arizona Mining Association and chambers of commerce from cities across the state, both large and small.

To see the U.S. Chamber’s full coalition letter and a list of its signatories, click here.

Graham Bosch

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