This month marks the one-year anniversary of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement signing ceremony. This agreement—a follow-on to NAFTA—will modernize the trade partnership that formed the basis of North American economic relations for a quarter of a century. Yet, the agreement remains sitting on a shelf, unratified by the United States Congress.
Mexico recognizes the importance of this agreement and months ago was the first of the three North American nations to ratify the trade agreement by a landslide vote of 114-4. Canada is heading toward approval quickly. Our political gridlock in Washington now is at the point of harming our ability to be a good neighbor and partner.
More than 12 million American jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico. U.S. manufacturers export more made-in-America manufactured goods to Canada and Mexico than they do to the next eleven largest export markets combined. In addition, Canada and Mexico account for nearly one-third of U.S. agricultural exports.
As a border state with significant trade with both Mexico and Canada, Arizona understands the importance of free trade for North America. Annually, 228,000 Arizona jobs and nearly $10 billlion of exports depend on trade and investment with Mexico and Canada, a significant portion of which would be in jeopardy should USMCA fail to pass.
Elaborate cross-border manufacturing and supply chains have developed in aerospace, agriculture, electronics, automotive and other key industries, and Arizona carries large trade surpluses with both Mexico ($830 million) and Canada ($810 million). USMCA provides assurance that manufacturers, farmers and service providers in Arizona, and throughout the United States, can access the Canadian and Mexican markets virtually tariff-free.
Last month, the Arizona-Mexico commission launched USMCAnow.org, a website that contains district-by-district information about how each area of Arizona is positively affected by trade with Canada and Mexico, along with social media tools and ways for Arizonans to contact their elected officials.
Legislation to implement the agreement must be approved first in the U.S. House of Representatives and then in the U.S. Senate—where it will pass, with Senator Sinema’s and Senator McSally’s strong support.
The ball is in Speaker Pelosi’s court. Call Southern Arizona’s Congressional Delegation and ask them to tell Speaker Pelosi to put the USMCA Agreement on the calendar for a vote in the House of Representatives. We can’t afford to let insider politics ruin Southern Arizona’s economy.
Robert Medler is the Tucson Metro Chamber Vice President.