Roger Niello: Congress must pass the USMCA to keep California on track
Gold Country Media
By Roger Niello
September 18, 2019
From our deepwater channel seaport and the Sacramento International Airport to our expansive highway network and rail system, the Capital Region is one of the nation’s most geographically diverse – and connected – regions in the United States. Due to California’s precious natural resources, abundant agriculture, cutting-edge medical and technological advancements, many of the contributions and assets of our region are experienced throughout the state, country and much of the world. And while California is conveniently situated to share our products across the globe, two of our most valuable trading partners remain our North American neighbors.
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) makes substantial improvements that better serve the interests of American workers, innovators, farmers and businesses and support mutually beneficial trade. It promotes freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in the U.S. and across North America. Moreover, it will help our country to maintain our strong competitive edge.
Having served as a California State Assemblyman and president & CEO of the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, I know sound public policy when I see it. Evidence suggests, as exports grow, more jobs are created, specifically higher-paying jobs. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, workers in export-intensive industries earn an average of 18 percent more than their counterparts in other manufacturing industries. In fact, California manufacturing workers make an average of $100,000 in total annual compensation compared to the average of $54,000 for workers across all private nonfarm industries.
What’s more, however, is how critical the USMCA is for the future of the California trading economy. Without tariff-free trade with Canada and Mexico, California’s manufactured goods exports could face up to $10 billion in extra taxes according to the National Association of Manufacturers. That’s enough to cripple any business – and industry.
However, the prosperity of our state remains bright if the USMCA is ratified. According to a recent analysis by the U.S. International Trade Commission, the USMCA would create 176,000 U.S. jobs, and contribute more than $68 billion to our economy, with much of that momentum making its way to California – boosting our business climate and creating new, well-paying jobs.
California has long been a leader on the world stage, and we cannot ignore our influence on North American free trade. Our policymakers must be forward-thinking and seize opportunities like the USMCA to shape trade policy.
Roger Niello is a part owner of the Niello Company, a former California State Assemblyman, former member of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, a former president & CEO of the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and a former interim director of the El Dorado County Community Services Agency.