George Allen & Jim Hodges: Ratifying USMCA will benefit Virginia, nation

George Allen & Jim Hodges: Ratifying USMCA will benefit Virginia, nation

ALTHOUGH WE affiliate with different political parties, one thing that should always bring us together is the opportunity to secure and preserve American prosperity. That’s why we’re coming together, having served as governors from different states and different parties, in support of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

International trade is a vital part of our economy and a means of sharing our American ingenuity and identity with the world. That idea may sound large and abstract, but it starts locally, with the small businesses and shop floors that export their products — and our way of life.

Men and women in our home states of Virginia and South Carolina and across the country are counting on Congress to ratify the USMCA trade agreement to give them certainty for their businesses and their futures. Canada and Mexico alone purchase more from the United States than our next 11 trading partners combined. And trade with those two countries supports 12 million jobs, including more than 2 million manufacturing jobs.

The manufacturing industry is central to our North American trade, and the implications for our states are abundantly clear. One in six Virginia manufacturers rely on exports to Canada and Mexico, and nearly two-thirds of those manufacturers are small- and medium-sized businesses. Moreover, Canada and Mexico purchase more than one-quarter of Virginia’s total manufacturing exports.

Without a free trade agreement, Virginia’s exports to Canada and Mexico could face as much as half a billion dollars in tariffs, raising prices on our exports and reducing our commonwealth’s international competitiveness. (And these numbers do not factor in the importance of high-paying jobs and activities related to our ports.)

Similarly, in South Carolina, one in four manufacturers rely on exports to Canada and Mexico. More than two-thirds of those manufacturers are small- and medium-sized businesses. And Canada and Mexico purchase nearly one-fifth of South Carolina’s total manufacturing exports.  Read more >>