Portman Praises U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement Ahead of President’s Signature

January 23, 2020 | Portman Difference

Yesterday, Senator Portman delivered remarks at the Senate signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley thanked Portman for his efforts in helping to help pass USMCA. Portman has been a leading advocate for USMCA, which will create at least 176,000 new jobs, expand opportunities for agricultural trade, encourage new opportunities for auto jobs in America, and add a new section on digital trade to make online sales easier. He has been consistently supportive of this modernized trade agreement, which will replace the 26-year-old NAFTA. USMCA passed the Senate last week with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 89-10. It now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

A transcript of his remarks can be found below and a video can be found here.

“Well first of all, congratulations to Chuck Grassley. He gets to be Chairman of the Finance Committee and shepherd this through and also be President Pro Tempore and sign the darn bill, so that’s pretty nice. You’re going to sign it aren’t you? Okay good. Look, USMCA is great for our country, it’s great for my home state of Ohio. We’re a big auto state, auto jobs are going to increase by, they say, about 20,000. I think it will be more. A lot of investment coming out of this agreement. And also, it’s great for our farmers as the Chairman of the Agriculture Committee just said. We’ve got a lot of dairy in Ohio. We also have just a lot of people who are looking for that light at the end of the tunnel because it’s been tough with the tariffs and the weather and with low prices even going in to the China tariff issue, so I agree with what Chairman Roberts just said, people are enthused about this. They’re excited. And Japan is coming, China’s coming, maybe the U.K. coming around the corner so we’ve got some great opportunities for agriculture.   

“Finally, one thing that hasn’t gotten enough notice I think in all of this is that the online changes are huge because there wasn’t a digital economy to speak of 26 years ago. Now it’s a huge part of not just our economy but America has a huge advantage there. So we have a little company in Columbus, Ohio, FUNsational Finds, they sell toys and board games online, they love this agreement. The de minimis is raised so they have fewer customs duties to pay, but also they’re protected. Their data is protected, they don’t have to have servers in Canada or Mexico because of the provisions here. And these provisions will now be in other agreements, which helps America’s economy in a way that’s more competitive for us.

“So, congratulations Mr. Chairman, Mr. President, and all my colleagues here. Everybody played a huge role in this and we’ve been talking to the Canadian Ambassador, the Mexican Ambassador. Whenever we travel we’ve been talking about it and trying to get to yes and we did get to yes. The president deserves a lot of credit, Bob Lighthizer deserves a lot of credit and again, this is going to add a nice shot in the arm to our economy and it’s going to be great for Ohio.”