The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement Is Critical for Texas

It's time for lawmakers to approve the ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). We represent hundreds in the Texas business community, the state Chamber of Commerce, and the Texas Farm Bureau, and free trade is at the heart of our state's economy. Ratification of USMCA is critical to provide certainty for the business sectors in Texas that rely on trade with Canada and Mexico and contribute to the U.S. economy.Texas exports more than any other state to Mexico and is second only behind Michigan for exports to Canada. More than 950,000 Texas jobs are supported by trade with Mexico and Canada. In 2018, Texas exported more than $137 billion worth of products to our North American partners, accounting for 43 percent of Texas' total exports to the world. These are staggering numbers that will only grow with the implementation of USMCA.Also, U.S. companies sell more than $2.5 trillion worth of goods and services to customers around the world. Of those exports, nearly $300 billion worth of exports go to Mexico, and another $360 billion worth go to Canada.This agreement is supported by industries that depend on free, fair, rules-based trade with Canada and Mexico. Texas' farmers, ranchers, auto manufacturers and small businesses are set to gain once the USMCA is signed into law.With more than 60,400 Texas jobs supported by exporting Texas agricultural products to Mexico and Canada and more than $7.2 billion in annual product value, the passing of USMCA would build on these achievements with better market access for products such as beef, dairy, corn, wheat and pork.Opponents of the USMCA continue to point at "enforcement" of the new worker protections as a reason for not supporting the agreement. However, the USMCA contains the strongest worker protections of any of our nation's free-trade agreements, and these provisions are fully enforceable. The deal even requires Mexico to update its labor laws to protect its workers better. Mexico recently signed these reforms into law, illustrating that it is committed to upholding its end of the USMCA.Across our state's industries, the USMCA is a win for all Texans and all Americans. It puts our workers first and levels the playing field for American-made products sold abroad. The USMCA is the new modern free-trade agreement with Canada and Mexico that our businesses have needed for so long. It is time Congress put its partisan differences aside and put Americans first by approving the USMCA.Jeff Moseley is chief executive of the Texas Association of Business.Russell Boening is president of the Texas Farm Bureau. They wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.  Continue reading...

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