Statesman: David N. Farr: Commentary: The trade agreement between U.S., Canada and Mexico must be modernized

David N. Farr: Commentary: The trade agreement between U.S., Canada and Mexico must be modernized
By David N. Farr
July 25, 2019

For Texas, trade with Canada and Mexico is critical.

According to new state data from the National Association of Manufacturers, these two countries purchase half of the Lone Star State’s total global manufacturing exports — contributing $123 billion to our state’s economy and supporting more than 114,000 Texas manufacturing jobs. Nationwide, more than 2 million manufacturing jobs rely on exports to Mexico and Canada.

As the leader of Emerson, a more than 125-year-old manufacturing company headquartered in St. Louis — and with a facility in Round Rock and others around the country — I can attest to the importance of a strong, transparent and modernized relationship with these two nations for our state and our country. That is why I, alongside several manufacturing executives from across the nation, recently joined Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the urgent need to enact the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement.

The U.S., Mexico and Canada signed this agreement last year to provide much-needed updates to the quarter-century-old North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA was a necessary agreement for the time, but now it needs to be refined and improved.

The USMCA updates North American trade to reflect the 21st century, digital economy, and makes it easier and safer for American businesses to sell their products to consumers in Canada and Mexico. For manufacturers, this new trilateral deal would improve trade standards throughout North America and restore certainty for the businesses whose success depends on exports to Canada and Mexico.

U.S. manufacturers like Emerson, with our many facilities across Texas and the U.S., rely heavily on the promise that our inventions, innovations and products will be protected from fraud and imitation.

The USMCA prioritizes American intellectual property, ensuring manufacturers have the strongest protections. That gives us the encouragement and confidence to continue creating and delivering products to solve some of the world’s toughest problems. The agreement would also prevent unfair practices against U.S. businesses by foreign governments and improve labor and environmental standards across the continent.

The USMCA is truly a well balanced policy that would have real benefits for America’s workers. That’s why it has broad-based support from manufacturers, farmers, small businesses, workers, consumers and beyond, who all cite the positive impact it would have for jobs, business growth and the economy. And research shows that the USMCA will lead to more manufacturing jobs.

Manufacturing in America has been empowered in many ways by pro-growth policies from Washington in recent years — like tax reform — which have helped allow companies like Emerson to grow operations in the United States, hire new workers and increase wages and benefits. But we do face challenges, and to ensure manufacturing can thrive for years to come, we need our leaders in Washington to make common sense choices like passing the USMCA.

Nearly 60 percent of manufacturers in America report that they are waiting for trade certainty before expanding operations further, creating more new jobs and investing in the American workforce. The USMCA will help make that possible.

USMCA passage is critical for businesses like Emerson, critical for Texans like you and critical for our country as a whole.

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