IL Lawmakers Issue Statements on USMCA Passage

By Benjamin Cox on January 17, 2020 at 12:48pm

The flags of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are seen on a lectern before a joint news conference on the closing of the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City, Mexico March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

The U.S. Senate passed the US-Mexico-Canada trade pact yesterday 89-10. The deal will now head to President Donald Trump’s desk to be signed into law. The trade deal was a central campaign promise for President Trump in 2016 when he vowed to replace the two-decades old North American Free Trade Agreement. The USMCA will not go into full effect until Canada approves the pact when its House of Commons reconvenes in late January. Mexico has already passed the revised deal. The bill has received mainly bi-partisan support in both chambers of Congress.

18th District Republican Congressman Darin LaHood said it was a big win for farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses in the state:

“USMCA is a win for Illinois, and I applaud the Senate to acting swiftly to pass this critical trade deal. This trade pact will strengthen a vital trade relationship for our producers, and I look forward to President Trump signing this deal in the coming days so our country can reap the benefits. With USMCA headed to the President’s desk and the phase one trade deal with China locked in, Illinois farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses are in a stronger position to compete around the globe. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, I’ll continue to fight for free and fair trade deals for central and west-central Illinois.”

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin echoed similar sentiments after provisions for labor issues and pharmaceuticals were added by Democrats in the Senate’s draft of the bill:

“The USMCA will support the economy in Illinois by improving trade relationships with Canada and Mexico, our top trading partners. I’m glad we got this done on a bipartisan basis and had the support of business, labor, and farmers.”

Illinois is the sixth largest exporting state, with exports supporting more than 325,000 jobs in 2016. Mexico and Canada are Illinois’ largest export partners taking on nearly $28 billion in products made or from this state. In 2017, Illinois agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico were about $2.11 billion. Illinois exported about $17.7 billion of goods to Canada in 2018, and $10.2 billion of goods to Mexico.

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth praised the bipartisan efforts of the Senate chamber prior to the vote being taken:

“Today, as the result of the work of congressional Democrats, we have an agreement that works for farmers and manufacturers and features enforceable labor standards to support American workers. Illinois needs trade to thrive, but our trade policy needs to be good for the diverse industries within our economy and the workers who fuel our growth. This final deal moves us in that direction. For the first time, working families in Illinois will see Congress vote on a trade pact that allows strong and swift enforcement actions against producers who deny their workers the right to collectively bargain. That is a major victory for workers in my state and across the country.”

“The final agreement also includes increased market access for Illinois wheat producers and maintains tariff-free access to crucial agricultural markets for Illinois soybeans, corn, beef and pork producers. Passage of USMCA will provide greater stability and certainty for farmers and manufacturers alike.”

“Make no mistake, this agreement is not perfect. A stronger USMCA would effectively address – or even mention – climate change as part of the environmental chapter. Nonetheless, I view this agreement as much-improved from what the Trump Administration initially proposed and a very positive development in creating a more just trade policy for American workers. That is why I support it and was proud to cast my vote in its favor.”

Stocks soared after the announcement that the deal had passed yesterday. Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey, Vermont Independent and 2020 Democrat Presidential Nominee Bernie Sanders, Democrat Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, New York Democrat Kristen Gillibrand, former Democrat presidential nominee from New Jersey Cory Booker, former democrat presidential nominee from California Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey, Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed, and Hawaii Democrat Brian Schatz all voted against the bill. President Trump has said he hopes to sign the trade pact next week.