WASHINGTON, D.C. (News Release) — Today, Congressman French Hill (AR-02) released the following statement after voting in support of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), replacing the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):
“Today’s passage of USMCA means more than 100,000 Arkansas farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers can celebrate this holiday season knowing that increased exports, more jobs, and rising wages are coming in 2020 and beyond. From day one, this renegotiation of NAFTA was focused on building growth in a 21st century economy and creating a level playing field for American workers. USMCA sets the stage for billions more in U.S. economic activity and strengthens our hand as we negotiate new trade deals with China, the United Kingdom, and other global partners.
“I’ve been on the front lines of this hard-negotiated trade deal for the past three years because it has the greatest potential to directly improve the lives of central Arkansas families. USMCA was one of President Trump’s top priorities for the American people, and I want to congratulate him, U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, and my House colleagues on this historic achievement.”
Womack Supports Arkansas Trade, Votes for Critical USMCA
Washington, DC—(News Release) Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) today voted to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). This critical trade deal, which was secured by President Trump and the Administration, modernizes U.S. trade policies with Canada and Mexico, which are Arkansas’s two top trading partners. The legislation provides a strong framework that will support economic growth, enhance market access, create jobs, and unleash new sources of opportunity.
Congressman Womack said, “The USMCA exemplifies a new standard of strength and brings our trade policies into the 21st century. This agreement will boost our economy and support Arkansas’s farmers, ranchers, producers, workers, and manufacturers. The Natural State is open for business, and greater market access with two of our top trading partners will further unleash opportunity and success across all sectors. Although this deal should have been ratified long ago, I am pleased that we are finally one step closer to delivering this win to hardworking Arkansans. By putting America first, we are renewing our trade relationships in a way that will build a more prosperous economy in our state and nation.”
Melvin Torres, Director of Western Hemisphere Trade at the World Trade Center Arkansas, said, “After years of consistent growth in exports from Arkansas to Canada and Mexico, long-term data has shown that a more modern trade agreement will exceedingly propel the state’s economy. Likewise, Arkansas is in a unique position, as it exports more than it imports to both countries combined over the past years. The World Trade Center Arkansas has worked diligently with small businesses, farmers, state and federal officials like Congressman Steve Womack, to listen and communicate the factual data showing the economic impact of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.”
Among key wins in this trade deal, the USMCA will:
- Increase market access for Arkansas products in Mexico and Canada;
- Give Arkansas poultry producers new export access to Canada for chicken and eggs;
- Expand the ability of Arkansas producers to sell turkey abroad;
- Support more than 120,000 jobs in the Natural State;
- Assist American innovators by creating a new chapter dedicated to digital trade;
- Create hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide; and
- Bolster American auto production and automotive jobs.
Trade is vitally important to Arkansas, with Canada and Mexico accounting for one-third of our state’s exports. A recent report from the World Trade Center Arkansas found that, in 2018, exports to Canada amounted to $1.2 billion and exports to Mexico totaled $870 million. Each country buys millions of dollars’ worth of Arkansas eggs, poultry, rice, and other products each year. Overall exports to these two countries also support more than 12 million American jobs, including 120,000 jobs in the Natural State. The ITC predicts that the USMCA will help raise GDP, and the CBO reports that the deal will generate $3 billion in additional revenue for the country. Congressman Womack has continuously called for Congress to pass the USMCA. He also highlighted the importance of this agreement to the Third District during a local trade tour earlier this year.
The bill will now head to the Senate, where it is expected to be voted on next year.