At 25 years old, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is no longer the best free trade agreement for many American workers and businesses. When it was signed, NAFTA was an innovative trade agreement that produced unprecedented trade and commerce throughout North America and showed how the growth of free and fair trade benefited the United States. But now, 25 years later, NAFTA no longer offers 21st century protections for a modern economy — just think about how much technology has changed.
America’s workers and economy need a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. An agreement that brings new opportunities to local communities while making American-made products more competitive in the global marketplace. The newly-negotiated United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is that agreement.
The USMCA is a welcome agreement for workers and industries that depend on free, fair, and rules-based trade. That means America’s farmers and ranchers — from dairy producers to tomato and almond growers. It also means American auto workers and manufacturers as well as all of the small businesses along those supply chains. The energy and technology industries will also be more competitive in today’s economy because of this agreement.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, trade with Canada and Mexico supports 14 million American jobs. Failure to approve the USMCA puts these jobs, the nation’s historically low unemployment rate, and record high stock market at risk. Approving this commonsense trade agreement ensures this trend continues.
Being a senator often times meant negotiating, compromising, and working across the aisle to deliver the best possible policies for North Dakotans and the American people. I did not always get everything I wanted, but I did not let perfect be the enemy of the good. The USMCA contains many wins for our country, and Congress must commit to compromise in order to pass it.
For example, the USMCA takes great strides to make North Dakota wheat more competitive in Canadian markets and to protect American intellectual property. Critical to the 21st century, the USMCA creates rules of the road for digital trade, ensuring online businesses trade on a level playing field. The stronger intellectual property protections contained in the USMCA are essential to supporting American innovation and research, especially for patients who depend on life-saving medicines.