WASHINGTON, D.C. – Top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered remarks at the Woodrow Wilson Center celebrating the first anniversary of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
His speech followed remarks from trade leaders throughout the continent, including U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai, Mexican Secretary of Economy Tatiana Clouthier Carrillo, and Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade of Canada Mary Ng.
CLICK HERE to watch Rep. Brady’s full remarks.
Rep. Brady said:
“USMCA shows a better way with market principles, high standards, innovation, and fair competition. USMCA challenges the world to embrace the future, rather than a protectionist, authoritarian past.
“Our modernized and deepened partnership will allow us to compete and win. The future is bright under USMCA.”
USMCA Is a Win for American Workers and Small Businesses
- USMCA puts American workers first by providing the United States with the ability to enforce the new agreement more effectively and new commitments that make North American trade stronger.
- USMCA cuts red tape for small businesses to buy and sell throughout North America.
USMCA Helped Us Become More Independent From China
- USMCA leveled the playing field for American workers to compete against China.
Bipartisanship is Vital in Renewing Trade Programs and Establishing New Trade Agreements
- The Biden Administration needs to end its trade agreement moratorium and pursue trade agreements that will benefit American job creators and blue-collar workers.
- Trade remains an area of bipartisan agreement.
Rep. Brady’s full remarks as prepared appear below.
Thank you, Ambassador Green, for that kind introduction.
I want to thank the Wilson Center for hosting this event today. It’s an honor to be on this stage with so many leaders in trade who have fought for greater fairness and greater prosperity for all.
And what better occasion for all of us to come together than for the first anniversary of such an important bipartisan achievement that benefits all Americans, as well as our neighbors and partners in Canada and Mexico:
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
USMCA took effect amidst a terrible pandemic. I want to talk a little about how we arrived at USMCA, and what this new agreement promises for our future.
Today, as we rebuild our economy, we are better positioned because of this agreement.
As many of you know, I’ve had the honor of representing Texas’ 8th congressional district since 1997.
Just a few years earlier, in October of 1992, President George H. W. Bush joined leaders from Mexico and Canada to initiate the North American Free Trade Agreement in San Antonio.
There, he said that NAFTA was a “turning point in the history of our three countries.” It truly was.
In its time, NAFTA was extremely beneficial to the United States, to my home state of Texas, and to our neighbors in Canada and Mexico.
But just like a car or an appliance: just because it runs well for 25 years doesn’t mean it doesn’t need maintenance. You have to take care of it, invest in it, and upgrade it to ensure nothing breaks.
The agreement with our North American neighbors needed to be updated to meet the demands of the 21st century, like digital commerce and global competition.
When President Trump signed USMCA Implementation Act, he said: “This is a cutting-edge, state-of-the-art agreement that protects, defends, and serves the great people of our country.”
He was right.
USMCA truly is the standard for 21st century trade agreements.
USMCA builds on the good in NAFTA: Zero tariffs on all U.S. goods exported to Mexico and nearly all products to Canada. And it opens new markets for U.S. dairy, wine, and poultry.
It locks in key reforms in energy and telecommunications for Mexico, ensuring a level playing field in these sectors.
This modern agreement strengthens our partnership against distortions caused by major non-market economies like China.
It includes vastly improved IP protections for copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets, along with innovative provisions to ensure enforcement of IP rights both at national borders and online.
The agreement on labor practices in North America raises standards of living around the world, and the fully enforceable environment chapter means a cleaner, healthier planet.
USMCA cuts red tape for small businesses to buy and sell throughout North America. It also removes costs on low-value shipments, and requires regular consultation among our three governments on issues that affect small businesses.
Negotiating this agreement was the first step: Implementing and enforcing it will continue long into the future, so that the agreement lives up to our high expectations. And so I turn to the promise of tomorrow.
Will we always agree? No. That’s why USMCA has an effective dispute settlement system to provide a timely and fair resolution.
The State-to-State dispute settlement system under NAFTA was broken. It allowed any party to block the formation of dispute settlement panels. Dispute settlement shouldn’t be optional.
USMCA fixed that. Now, panels will be appointed. The process has been improved to require timely outcomes. And this upgrade applies to all aspects of the agreement.
I intend to work closely with Ambassador Tai to ensure the United States uses it when appropriate. The success of this trade partnership depends on how effectively we can protect our rights.
For this, among other issues, we’ll watch the treatment of U.S. dairy products in Canada, approvals of biotech agricultural products, and the treatment of U.S. investors in the energy sector in Mexico.
The bipartisan commitment to rigorous enforcement of this historic agreement is real: Both President Trump and President Biden have deployed USMCA’s enforcement tools.
Ambassador Tai has shown she finds these tools useful, and I am confident that Minister Ng and Secretary Clouthier also will do so when they believe it’s appropriate.
These 21st-century updates reduce friction in trade, and we can work out our differences so that our workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers are treated more fairly. It will also boost investment and trade close to home.
This is exactly what we need as our economies recover.
All of us want to help those who were hit hardest by the pandemic, and return them to prosperity and good health.
To do that, we need stronger, more resilient supply chains. More resources in North America mean we can buy and produce more goods—especially key medical products.
Our economy, and our health, depend on securing U.S. medical independence. We must be prepared for the next pandemic.
We all benefit from increased regional production of medical and pharmaceutical products. Our supply chains should be anchored in America, enabled by close cooperation among our allies—starting with Canada and Mexico.
The passage of USMCA laid the framework for future bipartisan trade legislation. We are already building on this blueprint, and I know that our counterparts in Canada and Mexico are doing the same throughout the world.
I am confident Ambassador Tai, a skilled and strong negotiator, will work with lawmakers to advance American leadership in trade.
She knows what it takes: Bipartisanship, intensive consultation, and transparency.
After our success on USMCA, I know we can work together.
USMCA’s benefits for our workers and small businesses mean all of us—the United States, Canada, and Mexico—will exit this crisis stronger than we entered it.
That will be a blessing. The foundation of USMCA in our trade relationship makes us more prepared than ever to face growing challenges in a unified way.
Aggressive global competition for agriculture, goods, and services markets is a welcome challenge. When we compete on a level playing field, we win customers around the world.
And together we can still win when these trade challenges aren’t fair—whether from China or elsewhere.
Massive unfair subsidies, dumping, IP theft, forced technology transfers, unscientific barriers to agricultural products, protectionist restrictions on data transfers, and localization measures of all sorts are just a few examples.
USMCA shows a better way with market principles, high standards, innovation, and fair competition. USMCA challenges the world to embrace the future, rather than a protectionist, authoritarian past.
Our modernized and deepened partnership will allow us to compete and win.
The future is bright under USMCA. One year is an important milestone to celebrate. I’m looking forward to so many more, because we will celebrate them together.