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Blaine's Bulletin: A Modern Trade Agreement for North America

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Washington, October 5, 2018 | comments

For nearly a decade, I’ve been proud to serve Missouri’s third district. Over the past ten years, I’ve sponsored hundreds of bills, and one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that no bill is perfect. Whether the bill is sponsored by a Republican or Democrat, all legislation must be reassessed as time goes on to ensure it is still doing its intended job for Missourians.

This week, President Trump’s renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) finished with the U.S. coming to an agreement with two of our closest trading partners, Mexico and Canada. The deal modernizes the critically important trade pact that will now be referred to as the United-States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA). Thanks to the hard work of President Trump and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the USMCA creates a more balanced trade agreement, serving the interests of American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses.

Having grown up raising hogs and cattle, I understand how hard farmers work day in and day out to provide for their families and put food on tables around the world. With more than 11,000 farms in Missouri’s third district, it is critical for us to have fair access to our trading partners’ markets. After twenty-four years, it became clear NAFTA provided our farmers with outdated and unbalanced protections, providing benefits to some, while hurting other workers and agribusinesses. Thanks to the good faith negotiations between all three countries, farmers will finally have the economic stability and certainty they deserve.   

Not only will the USMCA help our farmers, but it will also strengthen the middle class. Over the last two decades, American workers had lost faith, being hurt by closed factories, exported jobs, and a stagnant economy. Nearly half a billion people call North America home, and by deepening our economic ties with Mexico and Canada, the agreement will result in economic growth, freer markets and fairer trade. In particular, the USMCA will stimulate American auto manufacturing and jobs by encouraging the use of high-wage manufacturing labor and updating automotive rules of origin to incentivize United States vehicle and auto parts production.

NAFTA was not perfect, but hindsight is 20/20. I’m happy to see the Trump administration taking the lead and working cooperatively with our trading partners to negotiate better deals for our country. Americans across the nation will enjoy continued economic growth and see the creation of good, well-paying jobs thanks to the hard work of President Trump. It took twenty-four years, but once the new USMCA is finalized and implemented, North America will finally enjoy a high-standard trade agreement that works for our 21st century economy.

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