ALEC Action Congratulates the Administration and House Democrats on Rising above Partisanship and Successfully Reaching a Compromise that Paves the Way for Expedited Final Approval for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

December 11, 2019 6:31 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: 
Michael Bowman
[email protected]

 

ARLINGTON, VA (December 11, 2019) – Days after the one-year anniversary of the USMCA signing ceremony by leaders of the United States, Mexico and Canada to modernize the 25-year old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Trump Administration and Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives reached an agreement on USMCA, paving the way for final approval. Congress should rise above partisanship and expedite the Agreement’s approval so that the states and nation can enjoy the benefits of this new and improved trade framework.

Early this year, ALEC adopted a model resolution urging swift Congressional passage of USMCA, as well as a model resolution commending the strong IP provisions enshrined in the agreement. State lawmakers agree that USMCA will bring NAFTA into the 21st century with considerable benefits to American workers and consumers.

USMCA will support and create jobs, and I urge Congress to rise above petty partisanship and expedite its approval. The Agreement is imperfect, and we are especially disappointed that the IP provisions that were exceptionally strong in the original USMCA appear to have been gutted during negotiations between the Administration and Congress. However, USMCA is still a vast improvement over NAFTA, and Americans have already waited too long to reap the Agreement’s job creation and economic growth rewards.

-Lisa B. Nelson, CEO ALEC Action

USMCA is expected to create 176,000 new jobs in the U.S. and to spur more than $60 billion in new economic growth for state economies. The manufacturing sector would be the biggest beneficiary of the Agreement seeing gains in wages, employment, exports and output. An estimated 28,000 of the 176,000 projected jobs will be full-time, auto sector jobs, and requirements that support Mexican labor, including a $16 per hour minimum wage for select Mexican auto workers, will help level the playing field for American auto workers. The Administration signed side agreements waiving auto and auto parts tariffs for Canada and Mexico, contributing to future certainty in this sector.

American agriculture will also benefit under USMCA. U.S. producers will be able to export more dairy products to our northern neighbor and commitments to science-based trade rules are strengthened. Trilateral trade in food and agricultural products supports more than 300,000 American jobs.

USMCA also includes vital provisions to create predictable regulatory guidelines for digital trade, which currently accounts for $1.3 trillion toward U.S. GDP and supports more than five million high-paying American jobs.

ALEC was among the first to applaud the strength of USMCA’s original intellectual property (IP) chapter – the most comprehensive of any multilateral agreement in history – in a statement last year and is very disappointed that IP protections were substantially weakened during the negotiation process between the Administration and Congress. The primary beneficiaries of the new provisions are foreign governments that will receive the benefits of American pharmaceutical R&D without sharing in the costs of developing lifesaving cures and treatments. Stripping away IP protections will do nothing to lower drug prices for U.S. consumers, and USMCA’s outcome on IP must not stand as a precedent for future agreements. IP is responsible for 40% of our nation’s annual GDP and 45.5 million U.S. jobs that pay almost 50% higher wages than those of non-IP intensive industries. The pharmaceutical industry alone employs 800,000 U.S. workers and supports more than 4.7 million American jobs – innovation and the IP protections that secure it are vital to America’s global competitiveness and economic future.

Congress needs to place the interests of the American people above political expediency and bring the Agreement to the floor to vote for its ratification. Do not delay USMCA’s benefits any longer – the nation, the states and American families are watching and waiting.