Opinion Pieces

USMCA - What's in it for Mississippi?

Washington, September 14, 2019 | Susan (Parker)
Mississippi and America are enjoying unprecedented economic growth. We must bring America and our trade partners into the 21st century by enacting the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). This bold initiative will allow the American economy to continue to grow by modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement so that we can meet the demands of an ever-changing global marketplace.

The Mississippi economy benefits from the $3.2 billion in exports that we sell to Canada and Mexico. From the shop floor to the farmer’s field, USMCA will significantly expand the trading relationship for the U.S. with Canada and Mexico – our 1st and 2nd trading partners – through freer markets and fairer trade practices. That amount is expected to significantly grow with passage of the USMCA.

Agriculture is Mississippi’s No. 1 industry, employing roughly 29 percent of our workforce and contributing $16.75 billion to the state’s economy. The framework of the USMCA will provide 25 years of free trade in North America and ensure American agriculture remains competitive in the global market. In some cases over the past five years, Mississippi farmers have witnessed net farm income drop by half. Failure to address this disturbing trend is not an option. The agreement would create more trade opportunities for dairy and poultry producers. Currently, dairy farmers battle with Canada’s unfair milk pricing program – a practice that would be eliminated under the USMCA. The poultry industry – Mississippi’s highest earning commodity – would gain new access for chicken and egg exports.

Mississippi’s manufacturers would also significantly benefit from the enactment of the USMCA. The surging economy, coupled with tax reform, is giving companies the confidence to expand and create more jobs. More than 144,000 Mississippians earn a living in manufacturing with an average annual compensation of $60,849 in 2017.

The president’s robust trade agenda includes many potential economic opportunities across the spectrum of businesses in Mississippi and America. The United States must continue to show the world that engagement with American industries is mutually beneficial, as evidenced by our strong economy as well as those of our neighbors to the north and south.

Congress must do its job and pass the USMCA. I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to deliver on the enactment of this critical trade legislation. As your representative, I pledge that your support for this critical agreement will be echoed on Capitol Hill.

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