Congress is gearing up for a vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – a trade decision that will impact Florida’s economy and affect the state’s manufacturers and farmers.
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 for Florida, the stakes are especially high – in fact, 13.6% of Florida’s GDP depends on trade, according to the American Enterprise Institute. Additionally, trade with Canada and Mexico supports 750,400 jobs in Florida.
The Sunshine State has been a gateway for the U.S. and its international trade for years now. There were $162 billion worth of goods in 2012 that entered or exited the U.S. through Florida’s two U.S. Customs Districts, and this value has grown by 135% over the past decade, according to Enterprise Florida, a public-private partnership between Florida’s business and government leaders.
The Florida Chamber of Commerce reported data indicating that Canada stands as one of Florida’s top global partners in origin exports, services exports, state imports, visitors, and even investment. Mexico is also one of Florida’s top global partners for origin exports, services exports, and state imports.
USMCA is particularly critical for Florida’s manufacturing sector as the agreement would impact more than 2 million manufacturing jobs across the nation. The National Association of Manufacturers highlighted in a recent report that one out of seven Florida manufacturing firms export to either Canada or Mexico.
Vice President Mike Pence visited Jacksonville, Florida back in May to promote the benefits of USMCA and to discuss the importance of the agreement for the state. Pence highlighted the local implications the agreement has since the manufacturing industry helped produce 20,000 of the 454,000 total new jobs in Florida during the Trump administration.
The Sunshine State’s top exports to Canada and Mexico include the following:
- Nuclear Reactors and Boilers Machinery
- Electric Machinery and Sound/TV Equipment
- Electrical Machinery and Equipment
- Boilers Machinery and Electrical Appliances
- Aircraft and Parts
In June, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, spoke of the benefits of USMCA at the Subcommittee Hearing on Mexico’s Labor Reform: Opportunities and Challenges for an Improved NAFTA:
“USMCA is a 21st century trade agreement that sets new and high standards so that our companies and workers can compete and win globally. I am a strong supporter of USMCA because it modernizes our trade relationship with our closest trading partners in a smart, effective, and seamless way. That includes areas like agriculture, services, intellectual property, and digital trade. Delay in Congressional consideration of this agreement means that we don’t see these considerable new benefits.”
Additionally, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) of Florida’s 13th District, a region that exported $2.26 billion to Mexico in 2017, acknowledged the importance of free flowing global trade for the state.
Crist mentioned in an interview with Florida Business Daily, “Reducing international barriers to getting U.S. goods to market helps Florida’s farmers, manufacturers and workers. A revised NAFTA should bring our partners more in line with America’s labor standards, and we still have work to do on the issue of specialty crops and drug prices.”
Florida farmers also have a huge stake in USMCA passage. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue penned an op-ed in the Tallahassee Democrat in June setting the record straight about the value USMCA has for Florida farmers.
“USMCA benefits Florida’s entire agricultural industry. By ensuring better market access and solidifying commitments to science-based trade rules with our top trading partners, USMCA is a big win,” he wrote.
Throughout the country, the U.S. business and agriculture communities are rallying to make the case for USMCA approval. In July, more than 600 national trade associations and state and local business and agriculture groups representing every sector of the economy sent a letter to Congress calling for swift approval of the agreement.
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.