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Momentum for the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which would modernize the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with guidelines for digital trade, is rapidly growing.
Last week, industry leaders gathered at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for an event to discuss the importance of the USMCA and the path forward in Congress. They represented some of the 600 industry groups, agricultural associations, and local chambers who recently sent a letter to every member of Congress calling for USMCA’s ratification.
“The support for the USMCA across the business community is wide and deep and the coalition we’ve assembled here today is a case and point,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue said at the event.
Industry leaders from a wide array of economic sectors emphasized the importance of USMCA for businesses, American workers, and families. Here are some of the key points they made:
Voices from Food and Agriculture
“For many Americans, it can be difficult to quantify the way a trade agreement like NAFTA has impacted their daily lives. After all, none of us leave the grocery store with a note on our receipt that says ‘NAFTA saved you three dollars today.’ But that doesn’t mean the effects don’t ripple out and help create a better, more affordable food supply for all of us.” – Leslie Sarasin, President and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute
“The gaps that stand between us and USMCA ratification are bridgeable. We critically need bipartisan collaboration to do that job so that USMCA can may be ratified as soon as possible.” – John Bode, President and CEO of the Corn Refiners Association
“We have approximately 100 members of Congress, of the House, who’ve never voted on a trade agreement. So during this recess, we need to take this opportunity to educate them on the value and the benefit of trade to consumers and most importantly to their voters in their districts.” – Michael Dykes, President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association
“We’re optimistic in the dairy industry. It’s extremely important to us. Forty percent of our exports go to Canada and Mexico. We need this deal. We need this deal now.” – Michael Dykes, President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association
Voices from the Auto Industry
“Passage of the USMCA will bring certainty and stability that will encourage automotive investment and it will result in more automotive jobs. That’s why we’ve made approval of the USMCA our highest priority for 2019.” – Former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt, President of the American Automotive Policy Council
Voices from Retail and Manufacturing
“We shouldn’t let the process of sorting out some of those details interrupt the overall goals and objectives of accomplishing this trade deal. That’s what we need for our economy, that’s what we need for the entire business community, and that’s what we need most importantly for the 160 million people in the workforce of the United States who are impacted by these trade relations.” – Matthew Shay, President and CEO of the National Retail Federation
As Congress gears up for August recess, USMCA is top of mind for many manufacturers, farmers, retailers, automakers, and American workers. Without a modern North American trade agreement, trade pacts with other countries would likely be negatively affected—limiting the international market access U.S. companies rely on for growth and job creation.
“If we don’t move positively on Canada and Mexico, it’ll be very difficult for us to muster the goodwill in other places to get agreements with China, Japan, the EU…” Donohue said.
For more information on USMCA and to see the breadth of industries and organization that are counting on its passage, view the U.S. Chamber’s letter to Congress here.