Chamber Business News: Glenn Hamer: Ham(m)er Time!: Time is now to pass USMCA, not later

Glenn Hamer: Ham(m)er Time!: Time is now to pass USMCA, not later
Chamber Business News
By Glenn Hamer
June 26, 2019

Every major chamber of commerce and business group across North America supports the accord.

A recently released report from the U.S. International Trade Commission makes clear that the USMCA represents a substantive upgrade over NAFTA. According to the ITC, U.S. real GDP under USMCA is poised to grow by $68.2 billion and an estimated 176,000 new U.S. jobs.

That’s significant. Even though the move from NAFTA to USMCA takes us from one free-trade pact to another, the USMCA’s articles on intellectual property, digital goods, customs treatment and more are the trade equivalent of going from dialup to broadband.

USMCA brings U.S. trade policy into the 21st century. Its new digital trade chapter contains the strongest provisions of any international agreement, establishing a firm foundation for the expansion and investment in innovative products and services where Arizona and California companies and the U.S. have a competitive advantage.

USMCA’s enhanced provisions on intellectual property stand to greatly benefit many Arizona and California companies that want to offer new services or sell their highly innovative product lines into Mexico and Canada. Some of our states’ key sectors of opportunity like aerospace, financial and business services, film and digital media, and bioscience, will enjoy greater protections for their innovations in two of our largest markets.

The agreement modifies customs rules to detain illegal counterfeits, and reflects recent enhancements to cut red tape in cross-border transactions and speed up processing at the border.

These upgrades aren’t just good news for big multinational firms. By simplifying customs processes, small and medium-sized California and Arizona companies can more easily enter the Canadian and Mexican markets. In fact, the USMCA marks the first time small businesses are reflected in their own chapter in a U.S. trade agreement. The agreement establishes a committee among the three countries to focus specifically on the unique challenges of small businesses, and it seeks to promote information sharing among small businesses looking to engage in cross-border commerce.

As business community leaders of two border states, we see every day how our states and the communities in them benefit greatly from cross-border tourism and our deeply integrated economies and cultures. NAFTA enhanced those already-strong ties, expanding market access for American manufacturers and growers, and leading to a greater variety of goods and price competition for U.S. consumers.

USMCA builds on NAFTA’s successes. We’re excited by what it will deliver for the U.S. economy and for the economies of our states.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is the chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Committee of 100. Paola Avila is the vice president of international business affairs for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. She is the chair of the Border Trade Alliance.

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