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


July 11, 2019


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

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 Wisconsin?

Trade with Canada and Mexico supports 231,200 jobs based in Wisconsin – where President Trump will deliver a speech about the trade agreement on Friday. USMCA is particularly vital for Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector, which plays an outsized role in the state’s economy. Nationwide, U.S. manufacturers export more made-in-America goods to Canada and Mexico 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 Badger State depends on the trade with these two countries. The total value of exports sent to Canada and Mexico from Wisconsin in 2018 is $10.9 billion according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Economic Indicators Division. The top export products included the following:

Wisconsin’s top three exports to Canada:

  • Nuclear Reactors, boilers, and machinery parts
  • Electric machinery, equipment, and parts
  • Vehicles (Except Railway Or Tramway) and Parts

Wisconsin’s top three exports to Mexico

  • Boilers and electrical appliances
  • Electrical machinery and equipment
  • Vehicles and Parts

Wisconsin farmers and ranchers also depend on the Canadian and Mexican markets — and stand to benefit from USMCA. Dairy products are the top agricultural export from America’s Dairyland (with total dairy exports of $772 million in 2017), and the state is second only to California in dairy exports.

As it happens, Mexico is the top export market for U.S. dairy exports. USMCA will lock in that privileged market access, and the pact will improve access to the Canadian market, which has long been limited by that country’s “supply management” scheme.

In addition to American farmers and manufacturers, USMCA is also a big win for small businesses. Canada and Mexico are the top two export destinations for U.S. small and medium-size businesses, more than 120,000 of which sell their goods and services to our North American neighbors.

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) highlighted the benefits of the USMCA agreement and how it positions farmers within his home state for economic growth in a press release.

“I appreciate the discussion from experts in the field and members in our community. The USMCA is a modern trade deal that provides more opportunity for our farmers. I’ll continue working closely with the Administration, state, and local partners to ensure the USMCA benefits Wisconsin communities.”

The agreement would also ease concerns and uncertainty in the agriculture industry.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Jim Holte, who serves as the voice for farmers in legislation representation, also noted the importance of USMCA for Wisconsin farmers while at a meeting with Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.).

“All of the different trade actions that have taken place in the last several months have placed a higher and higher burden on agriculture across this country. We need to see some improvement, in the short term hopefully. And one of the things to do that would be to get some of these tariffs removed and get the USMCA passed by Congress so we can have a better trading situation.”

In addition to maintaining access to two vital markets, USMCA will also establishes modern, science-based sanitary and phytosanitary standards that are the strongest achieved in any trade agreement. It also provides transparency and information sharing on measures impacting trade in biotechnology products.

Across the country, the U.S. business community and the agriculture community are rallying together to make the case for USMCA approval. More than 400 companies and associations from every sector of the economy have banded together to form the USMCA Coalition in an effort to urge Congress to pass it.

The case for the agreement’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.