Farmers & Manufacturers Want USMCA Now
May 7, 2019
- The new USMCA trade deal is being embraced by the business community and Wisconsin farmers, but not so much by a Democratic-led House
- USMCA would result in 29,700 new jobs in U.S. engine and transmission production
- Some Democrats are concerned the new deal doesn’t give the U.S. the tools it needs to properly enforce new rules and regulations
The latest jobs data shows a booming increase in jobs and wages for paid employees, especially in Wisconsin where unemployment is now at an all-time historic low of just 2.9 percent! So how do we keep that momentum going? Say “hello” to new trade deals.
As you know, the White House renegotiated a new NAFTA with Canada and Mexico, called the U.S. Mexico Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA). However it wasn’t able to be pushed through Congress before Democrats took control of the House in November, 2018. Since free trade agreements require majority support in both the House and Senate, we’re now left sitting on top of a deal that may benefit millions of American workers but can’t make it through the House.
Just about everybody directly affected by the USMCA wants it ASAP
Supporters of the new trade deal argue that it will finally level the playing field for U.S. workers who have been fighting stagnating wages due to cheap labor and low cost of production outside of the country.
Wisconsin farmer groups think the new trade deal is good news. Agriculture and motor industries are ready for USMCA. And, The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) — which represents more manufacturing jobs than any other association — has already urged Congress to pass USMCA.
Why do some people think USMCA will level the playing field?
- More automotive content has to come from high-wage factories in North America
- It will add nearly 30,000 new jobs in U.S. engine and transmission production
- Wisconsin dairy farmers will get more access to the Canadian dairy market
But even with strong support from manufacturers and the American Farm Bureau, plus pending support from labor unions, it’s not certain that Congress will approve the new and improved NAFTA.
Why do some people NOT want the USMCA deal right now?
Those who don’t like the renegotiated NAFTA agreement are frustrated that it doesn’t immediately solve the issue of low wages in Mexico. Raising those wages would “reduce the incentive for U.S. firms to move production to Mexico,” WSJ writes. (Note: Mexico has just a passed labor reform law that deals with this issue)
The White House agrees that the low wages in Mexico are a valid concern. But the administration also thinks that rather than holding up a good deal that will almost immediately help American workers, we should handle the concerns as a follow-up to the USMCA.