Column by State. Rep Julie Alexander
With all the chaos and economic disruption Michigan has suffered with COVID-19 this year, we should not let groundbreaking, positive news slip through the cracks without attention –especially when it’s going to bring better paying jobs to families across the state.
That’s why I am excited to announce that another of President Donald Trump’s promises to help boost trade and agriculture in Michigan and the entire United States has been kept. As we focus on reopening Michigan safely, it’s important we recognize and understand this sensible, much-needed change in how our country handles trade.
As of July 1, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) has officially replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). USMCA is an improvement over NAFTA in several regards, especially when it comes to small businesses and workers’ rights.
As chair of the Michigan House Agriculture Committee, I am pleased with what this will mean for our Jackson community. This gives our strong manufacturing base and our farmers a fair playing field, helping open up new markets for our products.
USMCA will bring many manufacturing opportunities to Michigan and our country as a whole – requiring that 75 percent of auto parts be made right here in North America. This will boost domestic production, leading to a nearly $235 billion surge to our national economy.
The system we had before simply wasn’t working – NAFTA was responsible for the loss of around 825,000 American jobs because of higher trade shortfalls with Canada and Mexico. Michigan lost more than 210,000 manufacturing jobs between the time NAFTA went into effect and Trump took office.
The sensible, balanced USMCA deal will create thousands upon thousands of American jobs, including an estimated 76,000 jobs in the auto industry alone. It has also received overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress —as well as from many labor unions and business owners.
President Trump gave the following statement when the new trade deal was made official:
“When I ran for President, I made a solemn promise to the American people that I would end the job-killing failure called the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and replace it with a better deal for our workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses—the men and women of Main Street who built the most prosperous and equitable economy in human history,” Trump said. “Today, with NAFTA ending forever and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) entering into full force, our grateful Nation pays tribute to America’s workers and celebrates their ability to overcome decades of bad deals and failed policies.” President Trump has promised to fight for better trade deals to protect American workers since he took office, and I am pleased to say he has created a smarter plan of action to regain a better, healthier economy here in Michigan. The new trade deal is a major accomplishment for the American people and for families in our own state – especially for our manufacturers and farmers – and I look forward to watching this new deal in action.