On December 10th, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi announced at a Capitol Hill briefing that House Democrats had finally reached an agreement with the Trump administration regarding the pending trade agreement that would replace NAFTA.
The U.S., Canada, and Mexico signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) back in 2018. However, it needs to be ratified by Congress before going into effect and replacing the existing free-trade agreement. Due to bipartisan disputes, ratification has been stalled for months. However, now there is a clear path for ratification and in the coming weeks, Congress will take a straight up-or-down vote on the new agreement.
Thus far, news of the deal has been applauded by the trucking industry. “Now with a clear path to USMCA’s ratification, this is a historic victory for truck drivers, motor carriers and the entire American economy,” said American Trucking Association (ATA) President Chris Spear.
“The vast majority of trade in North America moves on truck, with $772 billion worth of goods crossing our borders with Mexico and Canada every year,” he added. “USCMA will provide the certainty our industry needs while ensuring the United States remains competitive on the world stage.”
When discussions around replacing NAFTA first happened, the trucking industry was rightfully worried about how this would impact trade. The good news is that USMCA was more of a revision than a rejection of NAFTA. Overall, the trucking industry is not expected to face much change as a result of the switch. The USMCA text calls for commitments to streamline the way goods are moved across borders, which means adopting new technologies to expedite the process.
The most important aspect that comes with ratifying the new trade deal is clarity and stability. The trucking industry has been holding its breath for the past year, waiting to see what would happen. The USMCA must be ratified, but the industry can breathe a little easier knowing there is a clear path moving forward.
"Trade is a tremendous driver of revenue and creator of jobs in trucking, which is why passing USMCA has been so important to our industry," said ATA Chairman Randy Guillot. "Trade with our two closest neighbors supports nearly 90,000 Americans in trucking-related jobs and generates $12.62 billion in annual revenue for our industry. As USMCA deepens our economic ties, we expect these figures – like our economies – to continue to increase."
"In a Washington that has been gridlocked by partisan politics, this is a great example of what is possible in creating consensus around good policy," Spear added. "Truckers and our economy depend on good policymaking, and this bipartisan agreement is a reminder of how government can make our lives and businesses stronger. I thank President Trump, Speaker Pelosi, and all who have put disagreements aside to achieve this historic agreement."