Feb 26, 2019 - 10:15am

5 Reasons We Support the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement

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A factory worker assembles components on a diesel engine at a Cummins plant in Seymour, IN.
A factory worker assembles components on a diesel engine at a Cummins plant in Seymour, IN.

It’s no secret that the Chamber has long supported the benefits of free and open trade. Selling more of our goods and services to the 95% of the world’s consumers who live outside our borders is crucial to creating American jobs, helping small businesses, and keeping our edge in a fiercely competitive world economy.

That’s why we support trade agreements such as the United-States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). And it’s why today – alongside more than 200 companies and associations from every sector of the U.S. economy – the Chamber and its partners are launching the USMCA Coalition to advocate for Congress to approve the agreement.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue stated at the launch of the coalition:

The U.S. Chamber is proud to raise our voice in support of swift congressional passage of the USMCA. Trade with Canada and Mexico has powered our economy for decades. This new agreement preserves and strengthens the benefits of these trade ties and brings our commercial relationship into the 21st century. As the USMCA Coalition launches today, we and our partners from all across the business and agriculture community are rolling up our sleeves to make sure this agreement gets the seal of approval from Congress – and soon.

Here are the top five reasons we support USMCA:

1. Supports 12 million jobs

The USMCA allows Americans to trade more than $3.8 billion in goods and services with our North American neighbors every day, or roughly $1.4 trillion annually, which supports more than 12 million American jobs. In fact, 49 U.S. states count Canada or Mexico as one of their top three merchandise export markets.

2. Essential to U.S. manufacturers and farmers

U.S.-manufactured goods exports to Canada and Mexico support the jobs of more than 2 million men and women at more than 43,000 manufacturing firms across the United States. Most U.S. manufacturing sectors (38 out of 42) and most states (46 out of 50) count Canada or Mexico as their first- or second-largest foreign purchasers.

U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico quadrupled from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $40 billion in 2018, and the two countries are top markets for U.S. grains, dairy products, meats, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Nearly one-third of U.S. agricultural exports went to our North American neighbors in 2017.

3. Brings trade into the 21st century

The USMCA includes some of the most innovative rules ever achieved in a U.S. trade agreement. When NAFTA was negotiated a quarter century ago, there was no e-commerce, but the digital trade chapter in the USMCA is the best ever negotiated, by any country. Similarly, the new agreement protects classes of intellectual property, such as biologics, that the old NAFTA did not for the simple reason that they had not yet been invented.

4. Boosts American small businesses

Canada and Mexico are the top two export destinations for U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises, more than 120,000 of which sell their goods and services in our two North American neighbors. When an American small business starts exporting, it’s almost always to Canada or Mexico.

5. Powers the service economy

U.S. services exports to Canada and Mexico tripled from $27 billion in 1993 to $96 billion in 2018, but America’s highly competitive business services sector – including firms in such fields as audiovisual, software, architecture, accounting, engineering and project management, banking, insurance, and many more – continues to enjoy exceptional export growth.

The case for approval of USMCA is strong – it will preserve and strengthen our trade ties to our two most important export markets. We urge Congress to move quickly and approve USMCA as soon as possible.

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