Vice President Mike Pence visited factory workers in Michigan last week to rally support for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which would replace the disastrous job-killing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
But the passage of the USMCA is in question because Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t give it a fair vote. She’d rather halt the president’s historic trade agenda than help usher through a major win for the American worker. President Trump needs our help – call Congress and tell them to pass the USMCA.
Instead of facts and figures, Trump derangement syndrome seems to be driving the debate on the trade. Democrats would rather kick the president in the shin than stand up for American workers.
Don’t forget: this isn’t the first time that Democrats have betrayed the little guy in favor of big corporations and special interest groups. It was President Clinton who signed NAFTA despite intense pressure from labor groups and small businesses.
NAFTA may have been a dream for large corporations, but it was a nightmare for the working-class. Some 700,000 well-paying jobs were lost as a result of NAFTA according to the Economic Policy Institute.
700,000 isn’t some mathematical statistic. It’s 700,000 Americans who lost the means to provide for their families. Many of these jobs not only provided a living wage but also crucial family benefits.
Tens of thousands of once booming factories were shuttered. When factory doors closed, communities were ravaged. It isn’t surprising that many of those same communities are now struggling with opioid addiction.
Trade should always be fair, free, and reciprocal. By all measures, it’s clear that NAFTA didn’t meet that threshold.
To be sure, it was many of these same communities that showed their disapproval with the status quo by voting for then-candidate Donald J. Trump in 2016. Forgotten Americans understood that when President Trump promised to fix our broken trade deals, he would do just that. By delivering the USMCA, President Trump has fulfilled that key promise.
To start, those jobs that we were told were “never coming back” are doing just that. Changes to the rules of origin in the USMCA now require 75 percent of automotive content to be created in North America. That is a substantial change from the 62.5 percent under NAFTA and an important one too.
Automotive content being made in North American means more American jobs, tens of thousands to be exact. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the USMCA is expected to create 76,000 jobs in the automotive industry within the first five years of being enacted.
In addition to jobs, investment is also coming back to American shores. Auto suppliers are planning to invest $34 billion in the U.S. and will sell $23 billion more auto parts a year within our borders. Billions in investment means more American factories with jobs for working-class people.
Our farmers also came out way ahead. Agriculture exports are expected to increase by $2.2 billion thanks to the USMCA. Other barriers to trade for farmers are being dropped too, meaning that American farmers will again be able to compete on a leveled playing field.
To be sure, the USMCA will send the already booming Trump economy skyrocketing. 176,000 jobs are expected to be created by the USMCA in addition to $68.2 billion in new GDP growth. Exports to Mexico and Canada are expected to increase by $14.2 billion and $19.1 billion respectively.
Americans even have a victory for foreign workers that they can celebrate. The USMCA will enforce strict labor standards that will forbid the production of items that require forced labor.
No more goods from forced labor means that sweatshops in Mexico will have to close their doors. Promoting human dignity through trade is important and we should be proud of President Trump for recognizing that.
History has shown that when American workers and businesses compete on an even playing field, they win. The USMCA tips the scales back to the everyday American and away from the special interests. So, call your member of Congress and tell them to put partisan politics aside and vote for the USMCA. American workers cannot wait any longer.
Bill White (@BillWhiteNY) is the CEO of Constellations Group and is widely recognized as one of the nation’s foremost advocates for military, veterans, first responders, and their families. White has raised over $1.5 billion for these heroes and is a respected businessman and philanthropist.