America’s governors and Canada’s premiers work closely together to advance shared priorities and address issues of concern. Over the last two years, we have watched closely as our federal governments negotiated a new trade agreement that has a very large impact on our economies.
Now, after these negotiations concluded and a new, and better, trade agreement – known as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – was put forward, we are still waiting for the agreement to be reviewed and ratified by the U.S Congress.
Every day that passes before the agreement is ratified in Congress, is another day employers, workers and families are not benefiting from the new opportunities it makes possible and the higher standards it sets.
New England, for example, is where traditional economic drivers like manufacturing, agriculture and recreation intersect with high-tech innovation in sectors like healthcare, aerospace, information technology, financial services, defense and education. All these sectors will benefit from the improvements in the USMCA. These enhancements include, among others, better intellectual property protection to help innovators to bring inventions to life and spin off new private sector businesses and jobs; fair trade standards for our farmers; higher environmental standards; and better infrastructure to transport goods and people through the region and beyond. Most importantly, it will create more, and better-paying, jobs in industries ready to grow when this agreement is ratified.
That’s why many of the companies who call Vermont and New Hampshire home for all or part of their operations have voiced public support for USMCA. From prominent companies like Revision Military and General Electric to the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), whose New England-based member companies’ number in the hundreds. It’s also why many of our local, small business owners and farmers support it as well. The fact is, the USMCA is a significant improvement for both employers, workers and the environment, when compared to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
New Englanders build, buy and partner with Canada in an extraordinary number of ways. The strength of our trading relationship with Canada supports more than 556,000 jobs. We export approximately $17.4 billion worth of goods and services. We cross each other’s borders for travel and leisure, adding nearly $20 billion into the U.S. economy every year. The USMCA will expand these benefits, allowing for higher labor and environmental standards, which will benefit all Americans. It brings a much needed 21st century update to our economic trade.
Congress should not politicize its ratification. This is a time for all members – Republicans and Democrats – to put economic, social and environmental progress ahead of partisan politics.
On behalf of the residents of our states, we look forward to strengthening our partnerships with Canada under the new agreement and we urge Congress to give it prompt consideration and move swiftly forward with ratification.