How Ohio will benefit from USMCA

President Donald Trump ran his 2016 presidential campaign on fighting for freer and fairer trade deals for workers in Ohio and across the country, and this promise helped propel him to victory. Americans from both sides of the aisle recognized the failure of outdated trade agreements like NAFTA and knew that new deals were needed to bring our trade relationship into the 21st century.

In fact, in 2015, Nancy Pelosi even said: “It all comes back to: does this make a bigger paycheck for the American worker? NAFTA did not, and our experience is not good.” The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, changes that by creating bigger paychecks for American workers, spurring investment, and increasing exports in crucial industries.

Unfortunately, now that we actually have a deal that would benefit workers, Nancy Pelosi is stonewalling the process. Nancy Pelosi, Tim Ryan and their Democratic caucus are so intent on not giving President Trump a political win that they are forgetting about workers in the Heartland — yet again.

The Wall Street Journal even reported that Democrats may be stalling on the USMCA because they are “seeking in part to deny Mr. Trump a political win — at least exact a heavy price for advancing the deal.” But that heavy price is falling on the shoulders of Ohio farmers and workers.

The USMCA would mean good news for Ohioans.

Ohio has extensive trade deals with Mexico and Canada that depend on Congress ratifying the USMCA. In 2018 alone, Ohio exported $21 billion and $6.8 billion to Canada and Mexico respectively, which is more than 51 percent of their total exports. And on the flipside, in 2018, Ohio imported over $12 billion and $9 billion from Canada and Mexico, respectively, over 30 percent of their total imports.

The USMCA will ensure Ohio farmers maintain their access to important soybean, pork, corn, wheat and dairy markets in Canada and Mexico, but level the playing field for our workers and farmers so that our trade relationships are no longer lopsided.

Beyond that, the USMCA would make our country’s already roaring economy even stronger. The USMCA would strengthen investments in the U.S., add more than $68.2 billion to the economy, bring more than 176,000 new jobs to the country, increase GDP growth and grow U.S. exports to Canada and Mexico.

The USMCA also recognizes the important role small and medium-sized businesses play as “engines of the North American economy.” The agreement cuts red-tape and removes unnecessary burdens that inhibited the participation of these important businesses in our trade relationships. These new rules will open up better market access for nearly14,000 Ohio small and medium sized businesses that contribute to our economy.

Finally, through the USMCA that President Trump has championed, updated rules of origin will encourage more goods and materials to be manufactured in the United States. In our strong manufacturing state, this will directly benefit workers across Ohio.

Manufacturers, farmers and businesses from all sectors of the economy are supportive of the USMCA, so why aren’t Democrats? There is no reason to delay: the American Soybean Association, National Association of Manufacturers, Ohio Chamber of Commerce and many others all agree that the USMCA is a good move for workers in our state. By stalling on the USMCA, Democrats are only hurting Ohio’s trade relationships and potential for new trade opportunity.

Under President Trump’s leadership, the USMCA will bring jobs and economic prosperity back to Ohio farmers and manufacturers, and fulfill yet another ‘promise made’ by our President. It’s past time Democrats come to the table and work with Republicans to pass the USMCA.

Jane Timken is chairwoman of the Ohio Republican party.

columns@tribtoday.com

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