In a positive step forward for North Carolina’s manufacturers, exporters and business community this morning, House Democrats and the White House announced an agreement to move forward with an adapted version of the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement. While we are still reviewing this new version and determining its impact on our state, it’s clear that ratifying this agreement is a fundamental step toward protecting the nearly 380,000 North Carolina jobs that rely on trade with Canada and Mexico.
Recognizing the importance of positive relationships with North Carolina’s top two trading partners, the NC Chamber has long been supportive of a modernized, strengthened USMCA. As the exclusive state affiliate for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and in collaboration with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we joined more than 600 other business organizations this summer in calling on Congress to ratify the agreement.
Now that Congress and the administration have announced the modified version of the agreement, it will return to negotiators this week for their review. Following that, we are hopeful that Congress will be able to give a final, bipartisan approval to the USMCA by the end of the year. We will continue to review the changes to this version of the agreement with our members in order to assess its impact on our state, and look forward to sharing more information with you soon.
Top Three Reasons to Support USMCA
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.