USMCA

USMCA

While Washington remains deeply divided, that partisan paralysis eased last week with the Senate’s approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Regardless of your views on its 26-year-old predecessor, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), this new deal makes important changes that will strengthen American workers and deepen ties with our neighbors, while defending and expanding opportunities for dignified work in our country.

The Trump administration deserves credit for seizing a unique geopolitical economic opportunity, and Congress rightly rose above partisan sniping to secure a policy change that will make a positive impact.

The USMCA represents an important victory for Floridians. It takes important steps to facilitate our state’s trade-based economic growth, particularly among its 3.4 million small businesses, who will benefit from new provisions specifically aimed at assisting them.

By passing USMCA, the United States has taken an important step in filling out the vision of what a more-balanced international trade regime looks like, one of the most important economic questions of our time. Guarantees of stronger labor enforcement in Mexico will lessen corporations’ tendency to move production south of the border, where laws on the books are often

subjectively administered.

In general, the deal incentivizes enhanced production of critical domestic industries and should redirect more investment in the United States, while maintaining robust, mutually beneficial trade relations with our neighbors to the north and south — our top two trading partners in the world. And while USMCA is specifically focused on North American trade, it does keep an eye toward China, with explicit provisions to eject any member of the pact should it pursue an unwise free-trade deal with Beijing.

No trade deal is perfect, and while many American farmers and ranchers are celebrating, Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers were once again left to fend for themselves. Florida growers deserve an effective, enforceable and durable solution to the problems NAFTA helped impose. While the USMCA will not improve their situation, I remain confident that this administration will continue to look for ways to address significant price distortions in the domestic seasonal and perishable produce market caused by a rising tide of unfair import competition.

The USMCA also falls short when it comes to its lack of market-exclusivity protections for biologic drugs, for example, and its relatively short sunset clause of 16 years, pending extensions. But make no mistake — in this deeply partisan era of policymaking, this deal is a substantial victory for American workers and step forward toward realizing a vision of common-good capitalism in our nation.

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