New Coalition Kicks Off Push for NAFTA Replacement

With the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement expected to come up for a vote in Congress soon, the USMCA coalition—made up of more than 200 companies, associations, and regional chambers of commerce—is making the case for quick passage.

The basic framework of a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is in place, and now a new coalition aims to ensure the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) actually takes effect.

Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced the USMCA Coalition, a group of more than 200 associations, state and local chambers, and corporations that want Congress to ratify the new agreement, which was negotiated last year but requires ratification by each of the three countries.

In the U.S., the issue took a back seat in recent months, when a government shutdown was leading headlines. Congress could vote in the coming weeks, and it’s thought that Democrats, who control the House, will want changes.

Although the USMCA Coalition includes major trade groups such as the American Chemistry Council, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Telecommunications Industry Association, the Chamber is putting corporate voices out front—with top officials from the manufacturing giant Cummins, Inc., agricultural conglomerate Cargill, glass container manufacturer Owens-Illinois, financial services firm Citi, automaker Fiat Chrysler, package delivery giant UPS, and apparel-maker VF Corporation among the coalition’s cochairs.

Cummins Head of Government Relations Cathy Van Way noted that trade agreements have broad ripple effects throughout the supply chain.

“When Cummins is successful globally, we add high-quality jobs in communities across the country. And Cummins is not in this alone,” Van Way said in a news release. “When we are successful, so are our 2,500 direct U.S.-based suppliers that we spend approximately $2.5 billion with annually. USMCA will help rural and urban communities across the U.S. thrive, and we encourage Congress to approve this important agreement.”

Candi Wolff, Citi’s executive vice president for global government affairs, said the agreement has benefits for major service-oriented firms as well as manufacturers.

“It’s critical that new trade agreements account for the fact that 75 percent of jobs in the private sector in the U.S. are now in services, and USMCA does that,” she said.

The new coalition is not the only one of its kind. Last month, the Pass USMCA Coalition launched with more than a dozen members, including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), and the multinational chemical giant Dow. The two groups share many members, including these three, though the Chamber’s coalition is much larger.

(ronniechua/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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