The New U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Deal is a Major Victory for Texas
Recently, President Donald Trump presented Congress with the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal (USMCA) that, if passed, will give Texans a major economic victory. There should be nothing partisan about a deal that adds fuel to our economy, puts money back into consumers' pockets and keeps Main Street booming. We must accept and celebrate a win for America when we get it and push partisan fights aside.
The North American Free Trade Agreement was ratified in 1993. When President Bill Clinton signed NAFTA into law, Amazon, Google and the iPhone did not exist. The global economy was much less integrated than it is today. While NAFTA may have been adequate at the time it was created, it no longer fits our 21st century needs. It is time to modernize.
President Trump has worked diligently alongside his counterparts in Canada and Mexico over the past year to create a new agreement that pushes America forward and accounts for the drastic changes in our economy. Recently I met with President Trump's National Economic Council Director, Larry Kudlow. During our visit I voiced my concerns with section 232 tariffs, which were lifted not long after, and offered my strongest support for the new USMCA trade deal. I applaud the president and his entire administration for their unrelenting focus on the American worker, businessperson and farmer.
This administration has done the work to create a deal that not only benefits Americans as a whole, but specifically will help us right here in Texas. Fair trade with our neighbors to the north and south of the United States is imperative. There's no better example of that fact than Texas, where in 2017 our businesses exported $120.6 billion of goods and services to Canada and Mexico, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The ability to freely and fairly do business in North America is the benchmark of this administration's economic principals.
Texas has long been a leader of our nation's economy and there is almost no industry here that won't be impacted for the better. From manufacturing, to agriculture, to the high-tech sector — all aspects of our daily lives will grow and improve under USMCA.
Austin will feel the effects of this updated deal. Austin has become a hotbed for tech companies, both established and start-up. These entrepreneurs have created a technology ecosystem that has multiplied and brought numerous other investments along with them. The new USMCA trade deal includes a first-of-its-kind chapter on digital trade that will enable our trade relationships to further grow in our increasingly tech-reliant economy. Our tech industry cannot afford to rest on the old deal.
Our farmers and ranchers throughout Texas will also thrive under this new trade agreement. Specifically, dairy farmers right here in my district will no longer be burdened by Canada's unfair tariffs, which limits American farmers' ability to sell their products abroad. Business opportunities will expand throughout the agricultural industry once the errors of NAFTA are corrected.
This new trade pact presents our country with many new opportunities that should excite us all. There is very little we can seem to agree on in this highly polarized climate, but a deal that allows us to trade freely and boosts our already growing economy should be something we can all support.
I am ready to vote for USMCA now so Texans can feel the benefits sooner versus later. I urge all of my colleagues in Congress to push for a vote as soon as this summer. We must accept this as a victory because this win counts for all Americans, no matter your political team.
U.S. Rep. Roger Wiliams is a Republican representing Texas District 25, which stretches from Austin to Burleson. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.