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Roger Williams: USMCA finally has a chance to deliver

Dec 14, 2019
Column

Rep. Roger Williams
Cleburne Times Review
Opinion: USMCA finally has a chance to deliver

True bipartisan victories are rare on Capitol Hill, and we happen to be staring at one right in front of us.

Over one year ago, President Trump joined the leaders of Canada and Mexico to negotiate a new trade deal that brings North America into the 21st Century. 

The United States Mexico Canada Agreement not only creates hundreds of thousands of jobs, it expands our partnerships across the continent and strengthens relationships with our neighbors. 

I have been a vocal advocate of this deal since day one because everyone wins. Recently, I joined my colleagues on both sides of the aisle voicing support and writing to Speaker Pelosi urging its immediate consideration on the House floor. 

Finalizing the deal will send a message to every nation that America is wide open for business and we are going to lead the world economy.

As Texas Secretary of State under Governor Rick Perry, I oversaw affairs between Texas and Mexico, working with federal, state and local officials to address issues with our southern neighbors. Strengthening the trade partnership between our state and Mexico affects more than just trade — it means new opportunities for families in both countries. 

Job creation across our border will help alleviate a major contributing factor to the border crisis: good-paying jobs in Mexico means that less migrants will be forced to seek work in the United States because of more opportunities at home. 

Texas exported $27.5 billion in goods to Canada and $109.7 billion to Mexico in 2018, with more than 114,200 jobs in our state currently depending on manufacturing exports to both countries. 

As each day goes by, we are irresponsibly missing out on crucial investments and are putting millions of jobs nationwide at risk.

In our increasingly digitized economy, Texas exported $28.5 billion in computer and electronic products to Mexico and Canada last year alone. 

Trade across our borders has significantly shifted to the digital sphere over the last two decades, and it will only keep growing in the future. 

The USMCA does more to protect intellectual property than ever before and enforces IP rights that will protect precious technological innovation; these are necessary updates to keep up with our evolving digital landscape.

Texas’ 25th Congressional District is also home to one of the largest dairy producers in the United States, which means agricultural trade deeply affects our local communities. 

For far too long, our farmers and ranchers have been burdened by Canada’s unfair tariffs that limit their ability to sell goods abroad. 

Thankfully, the USMCA will eliminate this pricing program and expand export opportunities that will further grow Texas’ economy. 

During a time that Americans seem more divided than ever, I encourage us to collectively seize upon this opportunity to bridge the partisan gap and put the best interests of our nation first. 

The USMCA is ripe and ready to deliver for the American people — let’s not stand in our own way.

Roger Williams of Weatherford is a U.S. Congressman representing District 25, which includes Johnson County.

Click here to view the op-ed online.