Zachary Friend
Former Intern, Strategic Communications, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


November 19, 2019


As the year draws to a close, American businesses and workers are anxiously waiting to see whether Congress will ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The passage of USMCA is integral to business health and growth within the U.S. Why? Because Canada and Mexico now constitute the nation’s two largest export markets, as well as two of its top three aggregate trading partners. In 2018, trade with the two countries reached nearly $1.4 trillion, and this economic activity supports an estimated 12 million American jobs.

But how will the USMCA prove beneficial for Delaware specifically?

Delaware’s agricultural and manufacturing sectors are expected to see exports grow as a result of removed barriers to commerce included in the new trade deal. Last year, Delaware exported $1.2 billion worth of goods and services to Canada and Mexico.

Delaware farmers and ranchers are poised to see increases in export sales through USMCA – especially since Delaware’s top agricultural export, broiler meat, benefits from the agreement. Poultry represents more than $100 million of the state’s total $260 million in agricultural exports each year, and poultry producers have long complained about Canada’s barriers to chicken exports (hence poultry’s absence from the list of top export products below). And the good news is USMCA tackles these problematic trade barriers head on.

“The changes in the USMCA would be a net positive for Delaware farmers with no downside… For dairy farmers it gives us increased access into the Canadian marketplace. Even for poultry farmers, it does give us a greater access into Canada for poultry,” said Delaware Farm Bureau President Richard Wilkins earlier this year.

Delaware manufacturers stand to gain as well. One in four Delaware manufacturing firms export goods to Canada and Mexico. Of those firms, 62% are small- and medium-sized businesses that contribute to local economies in the state, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. More than 800 manufacturing jobs in Delaware depend on trade with our North American neighbors. These jobs pay well – with an average total compensation of $72,962 compared to $50,696 for workers across all private nonfarm industries ­– and they provide real career opportunities for middle-class workers.

Delaware’s top three exports to Canada

  • Edible Fruit & Nuts; Citrus Fruit Or Melon Peel
  • Mineral Fuel, Oil Etc.; Bitumin Subst; Mineral Wax
  • Pharmaceutical Products

Delaware’s top three exports to Mexico

  • Plastics and Articles Thereof
  • Pharmaceutical Products
  • Mineral Fuel, Oil, Etc.

Nearly 37,300 of jobs in Delaware are supported by trade with Canada and Mexico. Given the sector-by-sector growth USMCA offers, it’s time to pass the trade agreement that could further benefit Delaware businesses, workers, and families.

To learn more about USMCA and its benefits for American businesses and workers, visit here.

About the authors

Zachary Friend

Zachary Friend is a former intern working with the Strategic Communications division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.