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ICYMI- South Bend Tribune: Rep. Walorski: Modernized trade deal will benefit country, hardworking Hoosiers

July 01, 2019

South Bend Tribune

Modernized trade deal will benefit country, hardworking Hoosiers

By Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN)

June 30, 2019

Second District Hoosiers are builders and growers.

We make RVs, boats, trailers, engine parts, and cutting-edge medical devices. We grow corn and soybeans and raise hogs, ducks and dairy cows. Our manufacturers and farmers keep America on the move, put food on our tables and sell goods all over the world.

Trade is vital to Indiana’s economy, especially when it comes to our two largest export markets, Canada and Mexico. That’s why Hoosiers need a strong, modern trade agreement with our North American trading partners.

Last year, the United States, Mexico, and Canada came together to improve and update the North American Free Trade Agreement for the 21st century. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, will drive job creation, increase exports, and keep America’s economic momentum going.

Now Congress simply needs to take a vote.

You might not remember where you were in 1994, when NAFTA took effect, but you know times have changed. The world’s economy has grown more complex. Technology has advanced beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Businesses and workers have adapted – but NAFTA has not.

President Trump recognized this and followed through on his promise to modernize NAFTA. He and his administration worked tirelessly with Mexico and Canada to craft an agreement built for the future, not the past.

USMCA will bring a host of benefits for Hoosier small businesses, manufacturers, farmers, and workers. The independent, nonpartisan U.S. International Trade Commission estimates it will lead to 178,000 new jobs and generate over $68 billion in economic growth. The auto industry alone could add $34 billion in new manufacturing investment and create 76,000 American jobs.

Hoosier farmers will be able to sell more of the commodities they already export to Mexico and Canada – including soybeans, corn, and pork produced here in Indiana’s 2nd District. And USMCA dismantles trade barriers that have prevented farmers from exporting goods like dairy, poultry, and eggs.

Manufacturers will benefit, too. While most of the tariffs on exports to Mexico and Canada have already been eliminated, customs issues and shipping delays at the border still cause headaches. USMCA will help streamline customs procedures, reduce inefficiencies, and get American products to market faster.

USMCA will also modernize digital trade. Millions of jobs depend on e-commerce, with worldwide sales totaling more than $29 trillion. However, these are nowhere to be found in NAFTA. That’s why USMCA’s new digital trade chapter sets a global standard so companies of all sizes can compete fairly.

Finally, USMCA will level the playing field for Hoosier workers. I agree with my Democratic colleagues who say Mexico’s labor policies have given workers there an unfair advantage over hardworking Americans. Too many Hoosier jobs have been lost as a result of these policies, and it’s time to set things right.

That’s exactly what USMCA does, with pro-worker provisions like requiring Mexico to overhaul its labor system. Mexico’s president has already signed reforms into law, and if Mexico or Canada fail to live up to their obligations, the U.S. can file a legal challenge to enforce compliance – something we couldn’t do under NAFTA.

USMCA promises historic gains for Hoosier manufacturers, farmers, workers, and consumers. Our economy is booming after tax cuts and regulatory reforms, and USMCA will spur further growth. Workers are seeing bigger paychecks, and USMCA will drive wages even higher. Jobs and manufacturing are coming back to America, and USMCA will accelerate this resurgence.

However, these benefits are locked up until Congress approves USMCA, and any delay in doing so will put our economic momentum at risk. I hope Republicans and Democrats will come together soon to finalize this modernized trade deal for the hardworking Hoosiers in Indiana’s 2nd District, and for farmers, manufacturers, workers, and families across the country.

There is bipartisan agreement that it’s time to modernize NAFTA, and it’s clear USMCA achieves that goal. Speaker Nancy Pelosi should bring it to the House floor for a vote without delay.