Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto (L) shakes hands with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) next to US President Donald Trump (C) after signing a new free trade agreement in Buenos Aires, on November 30, 2018, on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders’ Summit.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
A strong trade relationship between the United States, Mexico, and Canada is important not just for North America, but for the global economy. After all, ours is one of the world’s largest free trade zones. With a new, modernized pact, we can continue to set the pace, capitalize on vital opportunities for growth, and extend the reach of fair trade and free markets.
As the chief executives of our respective states, provinces, and territories, we are coming together to urge the swift ratification of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA). It ensures that North America will remain competitive in the 21st century economy and represents a major achievement in building the world’s strongest trading partnership.
Parallel to the dialogues between our national governments, we work closely together every day to strengthen our economic ties. The integrated nature of the North American economy depends on trade and supports workers and manufacturers in all three countries. Through memorandums of understanding, we exchange ideas and build partnerships that foster economic development across a range of industries.
Consider that Canada and Mexico account for roughly one-fifth of Maryland’s global manufacturing exports. The United States and Mexico account for nearly three-fifths of Saskatchewan’s global exports.
There is a great deal we can achieve together, but much still depends on action at the federal level, where gridlock can have dire consequences locally. Politics should not get in the way, especially when the evidence is so clear and convincing that USMCA will improve people’s lives. As our nation’s trade representatives have stated jointly, “It will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half-billion people who call North America home.
There are three key aspects of the USMCA in particular that will help our respective regions.
First, there are the modernized and high-standard Intellectual Property (IP), Financial Services, Digital Trade, Currency, Labor, and Environment chapters. In particular, the deal includes the most comprehensive IP enforcement provisions and the strongest standards of protection for trade secrets of any international trade agreement.
Second, increased de minimis shipment value levels will help reduce costs and paperwork for express shipments, facilitating greater cross-border trade and making it easier for businesses to reach new markets.
Third, innovative rules of origin and improvements related to non-tariff barriers will mean direct benefits for the people at the heart of our economies. Ranchers and farmers will have greater market access. Workers will have a more level playing field. Small businesses will face less red tape.
But time is of the essence. Without a modernized agreement in place, industries will miss out on the additional market access opportunities negotiated as part of the USMCA. Ratification is essential to provide certainty within the North American trading relationship and to boost the ability of North American businesses to compete globally. Inaction only causes greater uncertainty, and affects production and jobs in North America.
Even in this divisive political climate, we believe there is considerable reason for optimism. Mexico’s Congress has already ratified the USMCA, and the United States and Canada are on track to follow suit in the coming weeks. The energy and momentum are there. Now it is time to put politics aside, and come together for the future of our continent and its people.
Governor Larry Hogan is the chairman, National Governors Association in the U.S., Governor Francisco Dominguez is chairman of La Conferencia Nacional de Gobernadores in Mexico and Premier Scott Moe is chairman of the Council of the Federation in Canada.
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