Thanks to President Trump’s economic policies, Pennsylvania’s unemployment recently hit an all-time low of 3.9 percent, while the state’s job count hit a record 6.2 million. In his first two years in office, Trump fostered job and wage growth by enacting the largest tax reform in 31 years and cutting burdensome regulations that handcuffed Pennsylvania employers. But it’s his rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), known as the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), that promises to be an even greater boon for our state economy and the nation.
The commonwealth is uniquely positioned to benefit from the USMCA, given our strong ties with Canada and Mexico. In 2017 alone, Pennsylvania exported over $10 billion worth of goods to Canada and over $4 billion worth of goods to Mexico. Nearly 500,000 jobs across the state are supported by U.S. trade with our North American neighbors. By removing the red tape required to trade, we can empower job creators to grow their businesses and hire even more workers.
Importantly, the USMCA improves access to international markets for many of the industries that drive our state’s economy. Pennsylvania farmers currently export over $1 billion in goods each year to Canada and Mexico. This agreement creates even more export opportunities by eliminating Canada’s protectionist dairy program and opening access for chicken and egg exports.
U.S. manufacturing is another key sector that will enjoy new protections under the USMCA. The deal includes stronger rules of origin, meaning more goods and materials, including Pennsylvania steel, will be manufactured in the U.S. The USMCA also modernizes and strengthens intellectual property rights, which are critical in driving innovation. Further, the agreement puts in place new enforceable labor standards to level the playing field for American workers and includes new commitments to address non-tariff barriers that currently hinder trade.
President Trump has already fostered an economic resurgence through his pro-growth policies, and the USMCA will further that progress. It is now up to Congress to approve this historic deal, and I hope my fellow Pennsylvania legislators will join me in calling for immediate consideration of the USMCA.
U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler represents the 14th Congressional District of Pennsylvania.