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Chamber Pushes for Passage of USMCA Trade Agreement

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Posted by: Jeff Rea, President & CEO, South Bend Regional Chamber on Friday, September 20, 2019 at 12:00:00 am

Last week, I was in Washington, D.C. with Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, United States Representative, for an update on the USMCA Trade agreement. The agreement is one of the Chamber’s top federal priorities and should be considered by Congress some time later this year.

Lighthizer commented, “Without question, the USMCA is the strongest and most advanced trade agreement ever negotiated. The agreement rebalances our trading relationship with Mexico and Canada in a way that benefits American workers and it modernizes the rules of trade among our countries to reflect the needs of our 21st century economy.”

In 2018, United States trade with Mexico and Canada totaled more than $1.4 trillion and supported 12 million jobs. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement offers certainty for future investment in North America, builds on market access that was created by NAFTA and enhances protections for new market opportunities. Mexico has already ratified USMCA – the time is now for Congress to act!

In Indiana, one out of four manufacturing firms do business in Canada or Mexico. 75% of those firms are small-medium sized businesses. Currently, 233,600 Indiana jobs are supported by trade with Mexico and Canada. More than 61,900 of those are manufacturing jobs. Those jobs have an average wage of $75,000.  Indiana companies exported more than $19.2 billion in goods to Canada and Mexico in 2017.

I was honored to join many of my chamber colleagues from around the country for this important conversation with Ambassador Lighthizer. We’re grateful for his work advancing this important agreement, it is critical to the Indiana economy and our region. We’re hopeful Congress will act soon to move this agreement forward and give companies in our region and across the state some comfort as they plan for future growth.

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