The California Chamber of Commerce reminded the state’s representatives in Congress this week of the importance of the pending U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to the U.S. and California economies.
The CalChamber continues to urge all members to ask their California congressional representatives to support the USMCA.
The CalChamber actively supported the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among the United States, Canada and Mexico, comprising almost 495 million people and combined annual trade with the United States of around $1.228 trillion in 2018. In 2018, goods exported topped $563.729 billion while goods imported totaled nearly $665.008 billion.
President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to renegotiate NAFTA in May 2017. The negotiations started shortly thereafter, going through many rounds.
In August 2018, the U.S. and Mexico reached a preliminary agreement, while the U.S. continued separate negotiations with Canada.
In October 2018, Canada and the U.S. came to an agreement right before a self-imposed deadline, reassuring the deal would remain trilateral. The pact was rebranded the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Benefits and Goals
CalChamber support for the USMCA, like its longstanding support for NAFTA, is based on an assessment that the agreement serves the employment, trading and environmental interests of California, the United States, Mexico and Canada, and is beneficial to the business community and society as a whole.
The objectives of the USMCA are to eliminate barriers to trade, promote conditions of fair competition, increase investment opportunities, provide adequate protection of intellectual property rights, establish effective procedures for implementing and applying the agreements and resolving disputes, and to further trilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation.
The CalChamber understands that the original NAFTA was negotiated more than 25 years ago, and, while our economy and businesses have changed considerably over that period, NAFTA has not. We agree with the premise that the United States should seek to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow the U.S. economy by improving U.S. opportunities under the new USMCA.
The provisions of NAFTA with Mexico and Canada have been beneficial for U.S. industries, agricultural enterprises, farmers, ranchers, energy companies and automakers.
Since 1993, trade among the three NAFTA countries has nearly quadrupled.
Mexico and Canada are California’s largest and second largest export markets. A final approval of the new USMCA will benefit the California economy and jobs.
Earlier this year. the CalChamber joined more than 200 companies and associations in launching the USMCA Coalition, which advocates congressional approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
The coalition includes a diverse group of businesses, farmers and ranchers, manufacturers, service providers, and technology companies in support of the USMCA.
The USMCA Coalition continues to make the case for expeditious passage of the agreement to members of Congress, and will work to educate employers and members of Congress about the benefits of the new deal. The effort will harness the advocacy strength of a broad membership of companies, trade associations, and chambers of commerce, including many that operate outside of Washington, D.C.
More information about the agreement and the coalition is available at www.usmcacoalition.org.