Jared Levinson
Former Intern, Strategic Communications, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


August 07, 2019


Congress will soon vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – a decision that will have a significant impact on the economic health of Pennsylvania’s manufacturers, farmers, small businesses, and families.

On a national scale, Canada and Mexico are by far the two largest U.S. export markets. In 2018, trade with the two countries reached nearly $1.4 trillion. Currently, trade with our North American neighbors supports 12 million American jobs across the country.

But how much will USMCA’s passage impact Pennsylvania?

Trade with Canada and Mexico supports 477,900 jobs based in Pennsylvania – where Vice President Mike Pence visited last week to promote the new trade agreement. USMCA is particularly significant for Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector, which plays a large role in the state’s economy and provides good paying jobs for Americans. A majority of Pennsylvania’s aluminum (81%), motor vehicle (77%), and other manufactured goods go to Canada and Mexico.

Manufacturing accounts for roughly 11.7% of the state’s total output, and manufacturers employ nearly 10% of the state’s workforce, according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Moreover, the average annual compensation for manufacturing jobs in the state in 2017 was $73,730.71, NAM reports. Nationwide, U.S. manufacturers export more American-made goods to Canada and Mexico than to the next 11 largest export markets combined.

Pennsylvania farmers also have a stake in whether or not USMCA is ratified. Dairy products represent Pennsylvania’s largest agricultural sector and top agricultural export, and the state’s dairy exports surpassed $280 million last year. This underscores the importance of maintaining access to customers in Mexico, the largest export market for U.S. dairy exports. USMCA preserves that access and expands access to the Canadian market for Pennsylvania’s dairy products.

The Keystone State relies on trade with Canada and Mexico for economic growth. The total value of Pennsylvania exports sent to both countries in 2017 was $16.8 billion according to theU.S. Department of Commerce. This represents nearly one-third of the Keystone State’s total exports of goods and services. The top export products included the following:


  • Nuclear Reactors and Boilers Machinery
  • Electric Machinery and Sound Equipment
  • Vehicles and Parts


  • Electrical Machinery and Equipment
  • Plastics and Articles Thereof
  • Inorganic Chemicals and Rare-Earth Metals

USMCA would also be a big win for small businesses in Pennsylvania. Canada and Mexico are the top two export destinations for U.S. small and medium-sized businesses nationwide, more than 120,000 of which sell their goods and services to our North American neighbors.

Craig Souser, CEO of JLS Automation, a manufacturing plant in York County, Pennsylvania, told the York Daily Record sales to the Canadian market are critical to the success of his business:

“To maintain our success we need a dynamic trade policy to adapt to the changes in the market,” Souser said. “Pass USMCA. It’s time for Congress and the Senate to do their part so we can focus on what we do best, make world-class machines.”

Now more than ever, we need Congress to come together and approve this vital agreement. Across the country, the U.S. business and agriculture communities are rallying to make the case for USMCA approval. More than 400 companies and associations from every sector of the economy banded together to form USMCA Coalition to urge Congress to pass the agreement.

The case for USMCA’s approval is strong and the voices supporting its passage are growing stronger. Join us as we urge Congress to approve USMCA as soon as possible.

About the authors

Jared Levinson

Jared Levinson is former intern for the Strategic Communications team at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.