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North Carolina Needs the USMCA

Today is the USMCA Day of Action—manufacturers and the business community across the country are calling on Congress to swiftly ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Our economy, and the success of so many manufacturers, exporters and employers in North Carolina, depends on our close trade relationships with Mexico and Canada. That’s why we’re proud to support the USMCA and urge the North Carolina congressional delegation to lend their voices to this cause. 

The numbers in support of this agreement speak for themselves, especially when it comes to North Carolina. When we joined the USMCA Coalition earlier this year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a top 5 reasons to support USMCA from a national perspective—here’s a closer look at how 3 of those reasons break down for our state: 

1. The USMCA would support 376,400 North Carolina jobs,
including 32,000 manufacturing jobs

According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), export-dependent jobs are usually full-time, pay higher-than-average wages, and offer real career opportunities for middle-class workers. In North Carolina, manufacturing workers make an average of $69,000 a year.

2. It’s essential to North Carolina’s farmers and agribusinesses 

In a column last year, economist Dr. Michael Walden shared some impressive figures: “Sales of agricultural products [from North Carolina] to Canada and Mexico jumped 550 percent between 2000 and 2017. [During the same time], our exports of manufactured food products to our NAFTA partners rose 200 percent, and export sales to Canada and Mexico of transportation equipment made in North Carolina gained 140 percent.” Passing the USMCA would be a major win for North Carolina farmers and agribusinesses as they continue to grow their exporting operations to these two countries. 

3. It boosts North Carolina’s small businesses 

Small- and medium-sized businesses comprise 78% of the state’s exporters of machinery to Canada and Mexico, and 72% of the state’s exporters of Canada to Mexico. On top of that, one out of every five NC manufacturing firms exports to Canada and Mexico, 73% of which are small- and medium-sized businesses supporting local economies. 

As of right now, Mexico has ratified the USMCA—now it’s up to the United States and Canada. Congress must take up ratification, which is why we’ve previously written to the North Carolina congressional delegation and joined other calls for action. On today’s USMCA Day of Action, we’re renewing this call and hope to see movement soon.

If you’d like to learn more about the USMCA, you can visit the “Get the Facts” page on the USMCA Coalition’s website or see North Carolina-specific statistics via NAM or the Business Roundtable.

Gary J. Salamido
Chief Operating Officer and Acting President
NC Chamber