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         Pence: It's time to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

         Grassley and Brady: It's time for Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement



It's time to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement


Mike Pence, Des Moines Register Opinion Contributor

Oct. 8, 2019


Pence is vice president of the United States


On Wednesday, Iím visiting Iowa and touring Manning Farms in Waukee. President Trump and I firmly believe that America is many things, but, at our core, throughout our history, America is agriculture.


What our farmers sow, our nation reaps.  And what they plant bears fruit all over the world. The Trump administration is fighting for American agriculture on the world stage, which is why we are working to open more markets for selling U.S. products. Thatís why Iím urging all Iowans to call on Congress to pass the largest trade deal in American history: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).


Three years ago, the American people were enduring one of the slowest recoveries since World War II, when then-candidate Donald Trump promised to revive the engine of opportunity.


Thatís exactly what weíve done. Weíve cut taxes, rolled back red tape, unleashed American energy, and forged free, fair and reciprocal trade deals that put America first.


The results have been remarkable. Unemployment has hit a 50-year low and the lowest levels ever recorded for African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans. Wages are rising at the fastest pace in a decade Ė and theyíre rising fastest for blue-collar workers. And since Election Day 2016, businesses large and small have created over 6.4 million new jobs, including nearly 23,000 jobs in the Hawkeye State. Under this administration, Iowaís unemployment rate is a mere 2.5 percent.


But thatís just what this businessman-turned-President Donald Trump calls a ďgood start.Ē


To keep the momentum going, Congress must pass a trade deal that President Trump negotiated with our neighbors to the North and South: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.


Canada and Mexico are important trading partners for American agriculture, as our first and third largest export markets for food and agriculture products. In 2018, under the current North American Free Trade Agreement, Iowa exported $6.6 billion worth of products to Canada and Mexico. But NAFTA was enacted when many of the technologies that we use today did not even exist, and so today there are virtually no protections for many of the innovations we now take for granted. Thatís why we must replace NAFTA with the USMCA, which will create stronger protections for digital trade and guarantee the freedom to move digital data between Mexico, Canada and the United States by prohibiting any country from blocking it.


The USMCA is a state-of-the-art trade deal and if it becomes the law of the land it could serve as a template...





Grassley and Brady: It's time for Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement

Democrats have to stop stalling. Give the American people the leg up they deserve.


Chuck Grassley and Kevin Brady, Des Moines Register Opinion contributors

Oct. 8, 2019


Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) is the senior Republican of the House Ways and Means Committee


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosiís announcement of a formal impeachment inquiry into the president of the United States means that issue will likely dominate discussion in Washington for months. Thatís a shame, because there are so many pressing matters for Congress that are much more consequential to the everyday lives of Americans.


One of the most urgent is the modernized trade agreement with our neighbors to the north and the south, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). With election year politics upon us, time isnít on our side. But the window of opportunity hasnít closed yet. Democrats must act now on upgrading the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or risk putting politics before policy.


The historical benefits of increased trade


In 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower requested Congress approve legislation to expand trade with foreign nations. He told Congress that trade ďstrengthens our friends and increases their desire to be friends,Ē all while improving the opportunities for our own businesses and workers. Ike was right. From 1950 to 2016, trade expansion increased U.S. GDP by $2.1 trillion ó thatís more than $18,000 per household. Today, itís President Donald Trump who is asking Congress to expand trade with two of our closest friends, Canada and Mexico, by approving the USMCA. Congressís answer must be the same as itís been for more than six decades: Letís get it done.


Critics of NAFTA have rightly argued that the old agreement is outdated. NAFTA lacked enforceable environmental protections or labor rights, which allowed Mexico to out-compete us in many areas by producing more cheaply. The deal failed to anticipate how Chinaís massively-subsidized, state-owned enterprises would distort the global economy. And it was drafted in a pre-digital era when we watched movies on VHS tapes, listened to music on Walkmans and took pictures with film cameras. NAFTA simply hasnít kept up with American innovation.


USMCA addresses each of these issues and more. Its enforceable labor and environment chapters include commitments to drive higher wages by requiring that 40-45% of auto content be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour, protections against employment discrimination, rules to combat illegal wildlife trafficking and increased cooperation to tackle air pollution. USMCA also requires all three countries to confront state-owned enterprises and ensure products enjoying USMCA benefits are actually made in North America ó not China...


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