November 30th marked the first anniversary of the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by President Trump, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The purpose of the agreement is to rebalance and modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement into a 21st century, high-standard trade deal. The new USMCA will benefit American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses and support mutually beneficial trade leading to freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth throughout North America.
From the moment it was signed, its ratification by Congress has been a priority of President Trump, his administration and the Republican leadership of both the House and Senate. Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats have sat idly by, seemingly more focused on the theater of their divisive impeachment inquiry than on a trade agreement that will benefit three nations and the nearly 495,000,000 people that inhabit them.
While the USMCA's important to our nation, it’s also important in my home state of New York. Not only is Canada the Empire State’s largest trade partner, but in 2018 we had combined exports of $20.3 billion to Canada and Mexico accounting for a little over one-fifth (21.2%) of the overall value of exported goods from New York. Canada, at over $17 billion, is second only to China ($23.6 billion) in the amount of goods that were imported to New York State in 2018. In addition, our state’s easy access to Canada’s rail and road systems is one of the reasons New York is America’s third-biggest exporter behind Texas and California. Most importantly, tens of billions of dollars in international trade creates jobs and opportunity for hard working New Yorkers as well as tax revenues that benefit every resident of our state. That’s why ratification has been endorsed by a variety of organizations including: the Business Council of New York State, the Partnership for New York City and the New York Farm Bureau.
In late June, three members of New York’s congressional delegation; Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Joseph Morelle and Max Rose joined two dozen Freshman Democrat colleagues, including radicals like Reps. Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, in “demanding” that the USMCA be renegotiated.
It’s sad and disturbing that any elected official from New York would rather stand with radicals and socialists than do what’s right for their constituents and their state. We all witnessed AOC’s opposition to Amazon’s plans in Queens; make no mistake about it, the goal of the socialist movement is to destroy capitalism and the jobs it creates and AOC is one of those responsible for killing 25,000 good-paying jobs. Those who oppose ratifying the USMCA must be held accountable, especially when you consider that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 12 million American jobs are dependent on trade with Canada and Mexico and that a staggering 800,000 of them are located in New York state; accounting for nearly 10% of employed New Yorkers.
Mexico has already ratified the agreement and its president has urged the U.S. Congress to do the same. It’s time to stop the partisan bickering and the time consuming hearings of the House’s impeachment inquiry and focus instead on passing the USMCA and other important legislation before the year’s end.
It’s up to the people of New York and America to let Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats know that it’s time to stop their foolishness and get back to work. It’s time to do what’s right for our nation and our neighbors in Canada and Mexico. It’s time to bring the USMCA trade deal to the floor and vote for its ratification.
Nicole Malliotakis represents portions of Brooklyn and Staten Island in the New York State Assembly and was the Republican nominee for NYC mayor in 2017. She’s currently a candidate for Congress in New York’s 11th C.D. www.nicoleforny.com