(Guest Column By Governor Brad Little)
It’s been over a year since the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was signed and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi motioned for the trade agreement to be brought to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote.
Finally, Speaker Pelosi and Congressional Democrats listened to Americans, dozens of Governors from both parties, and many others in agreeing to allow a vote on USMCA in the House.
This is a critical moment.
Our neighbors to the north and south play an integral part in Idaho’s economy.
The USMCA modernizes the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement and promotes mutually beneficial trade leading to freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth in North America.
The USMCA would enable Idaho businesses to continue competing in a global market and enhance their customer base in North America.
If Congress ratifies President Trump’s USMCA, Idaho businesses and rural communities across the state will reap the benefits.
Canada and Mexico combined make up more than 25 percent of Idaho’s total exports and nearly 50 percent of Idaho’s total food and agriculture exports.
More than 1,700 companies in Idaho export goods and services to more than 150 countries around the globe, and the two most accessible and important markets are right next door.
Canada alone, as Idaho’s number one export market, purchased $926 million worth of goods ranging from fertilizer and locomotives to precious metals and cattle.
Mexico was Idaho’s fifth largest market with sales topping $230 million led by malt, milk powder, frozen potatoes, cheese and electronic integrated circuits.
Clearly, the products exported to these two markets reflect a vast range of sectors and businesses from every corner of the state.
The USMCA is important to Idaho because it preserves and enhances critical gains made in previous trade agreements for Idaho products. It would also create additional market access in Canada for Idaho wheat, wine and dairy products. The agreement would eliminate the Class 6 and 7 milk pricing system that created tremendous disadvantages to dairy processors in global markets. It also makes progress in the areas of labor, intellectual property, and digital trade.
I have been steady in my support of this important trade agreement, and I encourage Idahoans to speak up and share their support of it, too.
We need to do all we can to ensure Idaho’s long-term economic prosperity into the future.