The USMCA: A Gold Rush in the Waiting for California’s Workers and Economy

December 17, 2019 Updated: January 7, 2020
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Commentary

Californians are a resilient bunch. They have weathered power outages, fires, and droughts—not to mention government edicts and costs. Despite it all, hardworking employees and fearless entrepreneurs continue to not only sustain the economy, but to lift it to new and innovative heights.

Before the year is out, it’s time for Washington to reward their efforts and pass USMCA, the U.S.–Mexico–Canada Agreement.

California’s climate is as diverse as its many industries, and manufacturing still plays a big part in the state’s economy. Across the state, more than 1.3 million jobs are tied to the manufacturing industry, making products from computer equipment to semiconductors to auto parts.

Thanks, in part, to relatively free trade with our North American neighbors, 95,000 Californians have well-paying manufacturing jobs, earning nearly double that of workers across all private non-farm industries.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Canada and Mexico purchase $44 billion worth of California’s manufactured goods, more than one-quarter of California’s total global manufacturing exports. At the national level, those two countries are the largest market for U.S. exports in the entire world.

Overall, strengthening our trading relationship with Canada and Mexico is of undeniable importance to the U.S. economy and the millions of workers across the country whose livelihoods rely on free trade with those two countries. By ratifying this new trade agreement negotiated between North America’s leaders, Congress can do its part to help American workers.

At its core, the USMCA makes substantial improvements that build upon the now-outdated North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA—the agreement it will replace when enacted—in order to better serve the interests of American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses and support mutually beneficial trade. It will promote freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth in the United States and across North America.

The USMCA will also pave the way for better protections in medical research and manufacturing from the Biotech facilities at California’s U.S. Davis to its Lawrence Livermore National Labs. It includes best-in-class intellectual property rules to protect the full range of U.S. inventions and innovations, including new regulations designed to strengthen the protection and enforcement of intellectual property and improved anti-corruption punishments. Moreover, this trilateral deal sets the framework for future digital trade agreements that will unharness unprecedented American innovation.

According to an analysis by the U.S. International Trade Commission in April, the USMCA would create 176,000 U.S. jobs, and contribute more than $68 billion to our economy, with much of that momentum making its way to the Golden State, boosting our business climate and creating new, good-paying jobs. Failure to move forward on this deal could cost California manufacturers up to $10.1 billion in additional taxes, according to the NAM.

Mexico ratified its end of the trade agreement in June. Canada is poised to do so in tandem with the United States. Now it’s incumbent on our leaders in Washington to do the same. Ratifying the USMCA will provide businesses from every sector in California and the country the certainty that their exports to Canada and Mexico will enter those markets duty-free.

For more than a century, the United States has led the way in innovation, invention, and economic prosperity. By passing the USMCA, we can make sure it’s U.S. innovators and workers who continue leading the charge.

Thomas Del Beccaro is an acclaimed author, speaker, Fox News, Fox Business, and Epoch Times opinion writer and the former chairman of the California Republican Party. He is the author of the historical perspectives “The Divided Era” and “The New Conservative Paradigm.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.