Blaine’s Bulletin: A 21st Century Trade Agreement for all Missourians

A strong 21st century trade agreement is critical to ensure the continued flow of goods and services between the United States and our North American trading partners. Last fall, President Trump set out to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) more than two decades after it was first agreed upon. The resulting agreement, known as the United-States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA), will serve the modern interests of American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses while supporting our 21st century economy.

Having grown up raising hogs and cattle, I understand how hard our farmers work day in and day out to provide for their families and put food on tables around the world. After twenty-four years, NAFTA provided our farmers with outdated and unbalanced protections, providing benefits to some, while hurting other workers and agribusinesses. With 70% of Missouri farmers’ exports going to either Canada or Mexico, it is critical for us to have fair access to our trading partners’ markets. The USMCA will provide the much-needed economic stability they deserve by eliminating unfair Canadian trade practices in the dairy, wheat, wine, poultry, and egg industries. Our Missouri farmers and dairy producers will finally have access to fairer markets for their products.  

Not only does this agreement support our farmers, but the USMCA is also a major win for the American worker. Over the last two decades, American workers lost faith, being hurt by closed factories, exported jobs, and a stagnant economy. However, the new agreement coupled with the booming economy of the last two years has create new hope. 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. It also requires all countries to adopt standards set by the International Labor Organization, meaning Mexico can no longer undercut U.S. manufacturers by underpaying workers. 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.

Along with Canada and Mexico, the United States’ negotiators have signed the agreement. Now Congress must move forward with ratifying it. Just this week, Mexico ratified the agreement, bringing us one step closer to a modern trade agreement that will add $2.2 billion to our economy, increase the GDP by $68.2 billion, and create more than 175,000 jobs. It is time for Speaker Pelosi to bring the USMCA up for a vote in the House of Representatives. Americans across the nation deserve a more balanced trade agreement that works for our 21st century economy, and I hope we will have the opportunity to ratify the agreement in the very near future.