It's high time we ratify Trump's new trade deal. Here's why.
Several months have passed since President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and now former Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto met in Buenos Aires on the sidelines of the Group of 20 Summit to sign a new trade deal. This new agreement--the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)--would replace the quarter-century-old NAFTA pact, and seeks to bring North American trade into the 21st century.
While it seemed that after months of difficult negotiations we were finally on a path toward a new deal, alarm bells are ringing yet again. Time may be running out for Congress to act on the new North American trade pact before President Trump follows through with his threats to nix NAFTA.
Dismantling NAFTA without passing a revised trade agreement would have devastating impacts on US businesses and the nation's economy. Thirty-nine US states count Canada or Mexico as their top trading partner, and Utah is no exception. As an export state, Utah's thriving economy is directly tied to our ability to export what we make, grow, and build. And for years, some of our greatest export partners have been our neighbors to the north and south.
In 2017, Utah exported nearly $1.9 billion in goods to Canada and Mexico. Those numbers, while still being finalized, appear to have increased to over $2.3 billion in 2018. This revenue from abroad also translates into jobs here at home. The latest numbers show trade with NAFTA members supported over 121,000 Utah jobs in 2015. In other words, we need a trade deal in place--whether that's a new NAFTA or the old NAFTA. There just can't be no NAFTA.
The original three-nation NAFTA agreement took effect in 1994. By easing trade between 450 million people in three countries, NAFTA resulted in more than $1 trillion in trade annually. Nixing NAFTA without another trade deal in place would jeopardize 1.8 million American jobs. Here in Utah, it would hurt manufacturers, farmers, and the 3,500 other businesses that currently export with Canada and Mexico. It would hit Utah's economy especially hard because the companies most at risk of higher tariffs are those that produce the states highest exports, including building materials, transportation equipment, and agriculture.
By ratifying the new USMCA pact, we would not only protect our thriving...