The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) has joined many other industry organizations – in addition to business groups and labor unions – to applaud the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement.
The trade deal, in a revised form, was passed into law on January 29, 2020 by President Donald Trump, after months of negotiations. Mexico has already ratified the deal, but at press time, Canada still needed to do so.
The USMCA is being called the biggest trade deal ever and is expected to pump new life into the job market in the U.S. The agreement replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), in force since 1994. NAFTA created a free trade zone, eliminating tariffs on many goods traded between the three countries.
“For the first time in American history, we have replaced a disastrous trade deal that rewarded outsourcing with a truly fair and reciprocal trade deal that will keep jobs, wealth and growth right here in America,” said Trump as he signed the agreement on the White House South Lawn.
AF&PA President and CEO Heidi Brock said on the day of the signing: “Today’s historic action on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement comes thanks to champions in the Administration and Congress who recognized the need for a strengthened cross-border trade agreement,” Brock said. “Canada and Mexico are essential trading partners for the forest products industry, and this agreement preserves free and fair trade, assures legal trade in forest products, and promotes sustainable forest management among our three countries.”
Brock also encouraged Canada to make haste to seal the deal. “We applaud the bipartisan process that guided this agreement to the president’s desk for signature today. We urge Canada to move forward quickly in ratifying USMCA in the final step toward promoting forest products jobs and manufacturing.”
In addition to creating as many as 80,000 new jobs in the automobile industry, the deal is also expected to create new jobs throughout the economy, including the agriculture and energy sectors.