As a follow up to the USMCA From Derek's Desk post:
Recently, we posted information on our blog about contacting our state representative in support of USMCA. You can see that blog post here: https://www.kearneycoc.org/post/usmca-support-information
On behalf of the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce, I also reached out to our representative, Adrian Smith, to show my support for this matter. Here is his response:
October 4, 2019
Mr. Derek Rusher
1007 2nd Avenue
Kearney, NE 68847-7305
Dear Mr. Rusher:
Thank you for contacting me regarding your support for open trade. I appreciate you taking the time to share your views on this matter.
Trade is vital to the American economy. In 2017, Nebraska exported $7.2 billion of goods, supporting an estimated 63,000 Nebraska jobs. Nebraska ranked as the 5th largest agricultural exporting state in 2016, sending $6.6 in agricultural exports abroad, including $1.7 billion of soybeans, $1.1 billion of corn, and $1.1 billion of beef. These exports represent opportunities for Nebraska agricultural producers to maximize the potential of some of the most productive farms in the world.
Open trade policies promote cooperative relationships between nations and help ensure America’s competitiveness in an increasingly global marketplace. Since the U.S. signed its first free trade agreement with Israel in 1985, our national gross domestic product has grown by more than 125%, with total exports of goods and services amounting to $2.3 trillion in 2017, increasing both our economic and national security. Such cooperation promotes faster growth, poverty reduction, increased democratization, and higher labor and environmental standards.
I have personally communicated to the President the importance of trade to our economic growth and security and have been steadfast in advocating against actions which would jeopardize fair and reciprocal access to foreign markets, particularly tariffs and trade protectionism. Due to the success of our farmers and ranchers, the U.S. agriculture industry is often the first to be targeted with retaliatory measures in trade disputes, as we have seen during recent trade disagreements with China and the European Union.
However, strong demand for American products, combined with aggressive negotiations under President Trump have led to recent trade breakthroughs. After I participated in negotiating sessions on reforming NAFTA in both Montreal and Mexico City, I was pleased to see the new United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) announced on September 30, 2018. The administration then notified Congress of its intent to negotiate trade agreements with Japan, the United Kingdom, and European Union on October 16, 2018.
Expanding our trading relationship with Japan would represent a significant new market for Nebraska producers, and follows a House resolution I introduced last year encouraging closer trade ties between the U.S. and Japan (H.Res. 236). An encouraging step in this process was taken on May 17, 2019 when Japanese markets opened to all U.S. cattle products, regardless of age, for the first time since 2003.
On June 19, 2019, the Mexican Senate overwhelmingly voted to ratify USMCA. Unfortunately, we are seeing a delay in ratifying USMCA in Congress. Delaying the enactment of the agreement hurts American jobs, border security, agriculture, and innovation.
By law, the legislative process to enact this agreement must start in the House. On May 30, 2019, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer initiated the process for the House to take up the agreement. However, Speaker Pelosi has not indicated when or even if she will put this on the House floor for a vote. This indecision is costing all three countries.
Rest assured, as a member of the Committee on Ways and Means, which has jurisdiction over international trade, I will continue to work with my colleagues to promote economic policies which foster sustained growth in our rural communities, and will continue to support trade agreements which benefit Nebraska.
Again, thank you for contacting me; please do so in the future if I may be of assistance.
ADRIAN SMITH Member of Congress
If you have any questions about USMCA or would like to discuss this matter further, please reach out through email: firstname.lastname@example.org