Behind the headlines regarding border tensions between the U.S. and Mexico, quiet lobbying for a new trade pact between the two counties and Canada is continuing in Congress.
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, otherwise known as USMCA, will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was originally approved by Congress in 1994.
In an effort to spur an early Congressional vote on the pact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has sent a letter to the U.S. House urging action.
“To keep our economy growing, it is imperative that our nation’s elected leaders take steps to restore certainty and boost business confidence,” said Suzanne Clark, the president of the U.C. Chamber.
Clark added, “One critical step is the prompt approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Mexico and Canada are our nation’s largest trading partners, with two-way trade supporting approximately 12 million American jobs.”
As negotiated, the trade pact will cover a wide variety of imports and exports from and to the three countries, including construction equipment and supplies.
According to statistics, current trade ties between Arizona, and both Canada and Mexico, were equal to $9.8 billion last year; for Colorado the figure was $2.7 billion, and in New Mexico it stood at more than $1.5 billion.
Exports from Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico to the two countries include computer and electronic products, as well as plastics and rubber products.
The proposed agreement has won the support of a wide variety of business and trade groups, while the powerful American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, which has complained about the agreement’s lack of labor laws, has come out in opposition.
The agreement must win the approval of both houses of Congress with a simple majority vote.
By Garry Boulard
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