Thomas J. Donohue Thomas J. Donohue
Advisor and Former Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


September 23, 2019


Forty-nine U.S. states count Canada or Mexico as one of their top three merchandise export markets. Trade with these two countries supports 12 million American jobs and is vital to businesses of every size, sector, and region. That’s why last week the U.S. Chamber of Commerce convened 100 state and local chamber executives from across the nation to discuss our most critical policy priority headed into fall: approving the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

To emphasize the importance of this trade agreement to local economies, the Chamber hosted a national press conference with public- and private-sector leaders from two border states that would benefit significantly from the deal – Arizona and New York.

From the Grand Canyon State, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Chamber President and CEO Glenn Hamer both underscored just how critical USMCA is to local industry. Trade with Canada and Mexico supports 228,300 Arizona jobs and accounted for more than $11 billion in state exports last year. For this reason, Gov. Ducey described his state as being “beyond ready to ratify the USMCA.” With the full force of the business community behind them, Gov. Ducey and the Arizona Chamber are working hard to ensure that all members of the state’s congressional delegation support the deal.

With USMCA, much is at stake along our northern border as well. New York is a case in point.

Although known for its bustling cities, New York also has a large agricultural industry – and its farmers have much to gain from USMCA. Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State, highlighted this at our conference. In 2018, New York exported more than $40 million in dairy products to Canada. Importantly, USMCA would remove many of the trade barriers that prevent New York’s dairy farmers from selling more of their product across the border. The agreement also would boost the state’s small businesses and manufacturing sector by permanently blocking nearly all tariffs on exports to Canada and Mexico.

From the North to the South and everywhere in between, USMCA is crucial to the growth and prosperity of businesses throughout the country. That’s why it’s essential that state and local leaders make their voices heard. To that end, the Chamber partnered with state business organizations over the August recess, holding more than 90 in-district USMCA events with members of Congress in 26 states.

As a result of this noteworthy advocacy effort, we are within striking distance on USMCA. The time to approve this deal is now, which is why – working closely with our federation partners – we are continuing to bring pressure to bear on Congress.

About the authors

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue is advisor and former chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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