Pat Tiberi in Columbus Business First: USMCA needed to ensure Ohio’s economic prosperity

The nation has enjoyed a sustained period of strong economic growth, job creation, low unemployment and stock market success, but several recent indicators have created an atmosphere of uncertainty and hesitancy.

Fortunately, policy-makers have a negotiated, agreed-upon trade agreement sitting on their desks that will increase American exports, create jobs and expand markets for American manufacturers and farmers: The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

The Ohio Business Roundtable believes it should be ratified immediately by Congress to maintain our momentum and avert a slowdown.

The USMCA needs to be approved by each of the three nations’ legislatures. To that end, virtually every agriculture and business association and chambers of commerce from across the U.S. have joined a coalition urging Congressional approval of the USMCA, recognizing the fact that more than 12 million American jobs rely on trade with Mexico and Canada.

Ohio as a whole depends on trade with Mexico and Canada. The two countries purchase and consume the majority of Ohio’s exports with over $25 billion exchanged for goods and services in 2017 alone. Yet Ohio’s ability to continue to sell more of its products to Canada and Mexico relies on stable, tariff-free and rules-based trade in North America. Accordingly, passage of the USMCA is vitally important to Ohio’s future growth and success.

Ohio has a long, proud history of a productive and industrious workforce uniquely capable of manufacturing the products and growing the commodities that consumers all over the world want to purchase. While Canada and Mexico represent less than 4 percent of the global economy, they are Ohio’s two biggest export markets and therefore play a critical role in sustaining well-paying jobs here in the state.

In 2017, there were 428,400 jobs in Ohio supported by trade with Canada and Mexico. Our top exports include motor vehicles and parts, chemicals, food and beverages, fabricated metal products, computer equipment, iron and steel, and paper products. A trade agreement that levels the playing field for our job creators and our workers will allow these industries to continue to grow and hire more Ohioans.

Not only is the possibility of increased job creation and greater economic growth important for Ohio, but the USMCA’s new customs and trade rules will be make it easier for more of our small businesses to tap into foreign markets and participate in cross-border trade.

Conversely, without a fair trade deal with our neighboring nations, there is a justifiable fear of job loss throughout the country in the industrial and agricultural sectors.

Equally important, the U.S. is working hard to keep pace with the development of free trade agreements being agreed upon by our trade competitors all over the world, making American entry into those markets more difficult. If the U.S. has an opportunity to improve upon an existing trade agreement with reliable trading partners, it would be foolish to not take advantage of that opportunity.

The Ohio Business Roundtable recognizes that sustained future growth of Ohio’s economy relies on the preservation and modernization of North American trade. USMCA will ensure continued access to the Canadian and Mexican markets, guarantee that Ohio’s exports enter these markets tariff free, and usher in greater prosperity for Ohioans, our communities and our businesses.

Pat Tiberi is President and CEO of the Ohio Business Roundtable.

Read Online here.

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