USMCA Working Group Nears Deal with USTR

October 30, 2019

Despite unrelated political developments, White House Administration officials and members of Congress of both parties continue to focus on the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) as a key legislative priority for the year and indicate optimism about the path forward.

Ongoing talks between the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the House Democrats’ Working Group on the USMCA have intensified in the past couple of week, with multiple high-level meetings taking place. Discussion continue to focus on some of Democratic members lingering concerns relating to enforcement, labor, and the environment and drug prices. Once an agreement is reached—which could happen as soon as later this week—it would clear the way for the USMCA to be brought up for a floor vote in Congress, before the end of the year.

NSBA has joined many of our association and business colleagues in urging lawmakers to pass the USMCA as soon as possible this Fall. Doing so is essential to promoting certainty and growth for businesses, workers and families across the U.S.—each of whom relies on trade with our North American partners to prosper and grow. NSBA believes the USMCA will help to reduce trade and customs barriers, improve market access, and strengthen the intellectual property provisions to safeguard small business innovation. These updates will help more small firms to sell their products and services to Canada and Mexico.

Exporting is an important component of a small business’ revenue and the U.S. economy overall. In 2018, exports of U.S. goods and services accounted for nearly 12 percent of gross domestic product and supported over 11.5 million jobs. Moreover, Mexico and Canada are the top two export markets for U.S. small firms; exporting $76.2 billion in goods to Mexico and $51.2 billion in goods to Canada. Passing and ratifying the USMCA will provide small businesses with the certainty and confidence to focus their resources on exporting to Canada and Mexico.

House members are scheduled to head back to their districts for a one-week recess starting Friday before returning on Nov. 12. Thus, with only a limited number of days remaining on the legislative calendar, NSBA is urging House floor action on the agreement before Thanksgiving and encourage you to contact your lawmakers to support USMCA.