Spokesperson for pro-USMCA group touts benefits, hoping for passage this fall

A former Congressman representing a group of trade associations, businesses, and advocacy groups looking to push through the latest trade deal for North America believes the new deal is better.

“There have been a lot of changes in our economy since the original NAFTA passed 25 years ago,” Erik Paulsen with the Pass USMCA Coalition said. “There are some improvements that are made. Take agriculture, for instance, there is now some easing on Canadian restrictions of U.S. dairy and poultry and egg and cheese imports. That’s really important for the ag community.”

One of the important protections is for auto manufacturers.

“The new agreement will require that 40 to 45% of new automobile parts be manufactured by workers earning at least $16 an hour,” said Paulsen. “U.S. manufacturers are no longer going to save money by outsourcing work south of the border. It’s going to be lifting labor standards.

Right now, the USMCA is bogged down in Congress.

“Mexico has already ratified this agreement,” said Paulsen. “Canada is set to do so. Now, we just need Congress to take the affirmative action this fall and actually schedule a vote. It does have bipartisan support, which is exciting.”

It remains to be seen if Democratic leadership in the House slows the passage further, trying to keep President Trump from getting a win on the issue in the midst of his reelection campaign.