Coalitions Push for Passage of North American Trade Deal

Written by Tim Triplett

The American Iron and Steel Institute and the Steel Manufacturers Association are among more than 200 companies and trade associations that have formed the USMCA Coalition to push for prompt congressional approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, the updated version of NAFTA.

“We look forward to working with members of the USMCA Coalition to support passage of the innovative new agreement. As written, USMCA improves fair and free trade for the steel industry, our supply chain, workers and the U.S. economy,” said SMA President Philip K. Bell.

A poll conducted a month ago by a similar group, the Pass USMCA Coalition, claims widespread support for the trade pact among American voters. The majority (51 percent) of respondents want Congress to pass the USMCA, versus just 14 percent who oppose approval of the deal.

“Americans rely on strong North American trade relations for a stable workforce and economy,” said former Congressman Joe Crowley, honorary co-chairman of the Pass USMCA Coalition. “USMCA will promote job growth across industries and expand opportunities for American workers.”

Voters support these specific tenets of deal: it will give U.S. dairy farmers more opportunity to sell to Canadian consumers; it will strengthen intellectual property and patent protections for American medical innovations; and it will require auto manufacturers to have a higher percentage of their parts made in the United States, Mexico or Canada to qualify for lower import taxes.

“Voters understand that the deal protects American workers, manufacturers, farmers, and innovators,” said Rick Dearborn, Pass USMCA Coalition’s executive director. “USMCA is a deal both Democrats and Republicans can get behind,” added former Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, honorary co-chairman of Pass USMCA. “The American public supports it. So should lawmakers.”

Trade officials from Canada and Mexico have stated that their legislatures will not give final approval to the deal as long as the Trump administration tariffs on steel and aluminum imports remain in place.

The poll comes three months after President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed the USMCA. The 116th Congress is expected to vote on the agreement this year.

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