Georgia Hispanic Chamber joins chorus of support for U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal
By David Pendered
The Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has added its voice to the choir of praise for the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada that President Trump signed Wednesday.
“This agreement will continue to facilitate commerce between Georgia and two of our most important trading partners,” GHCC President and CEO Santiago Marquez said in a statement. “We believe this agreement will help Georgia farmers, business owners and workers.”
Trump signed the agreement in a 37-minute ceremony at the South Lawn – during which the president recognized Georgia freshman Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler:
- “Kelly Loeffler. Kelly? Congratulations, Kelly. (Applause.) Really great. They already like you a lot. That’s what the word is. Thank you, Kelly.”
Mexico’s legislature in July 2019 approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Canada’s support is expected soon.
Santiago’s reference to the USMCA’s expected benefits for the agricultural sector echo the strong support the deal has received from the nation’s agriculture community. One indication of that support is evident in a letter sent in September in support of USMCA that was signed by all former secretaries of agriculture since the Reagan administration. It said the trade agreement would create jobs on and off the farm:
- “The food and agriculture industry is worth $1 trillion, which is 5 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. With farmers facing one of the lowest net farm incomes in the last decade, USMCA would create enhanced export opportunities and help fully capitalize on increased global demand for food products. Furthermore, USMCA would significantly boost farm incomes and create jobs both on and off the farm in rural communities.”
As trading partners for agricultural goods, Canada and Mexico are in the top three for exports from Georgia. The state exported a total of $4.2 billion in ag goods in 2018, with the top exports being poultry, dairy, cotton and peanuts, according to the latest report from the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
The Georgia Hispanic Chamber also highlighted the trade agreement’s potential to help small businesses in Georgia grow into new markets.
“The USMCA will open new market access opportunities for small businesses to sell to Canada and Mexico,” GHCC Business Center Executive Director Gabriel Vaca said in the statement.
The state’s non-agricultural trade with Canada and Mexico includes materials in the automotive supply chain, as well as finished vehicles, according to the GDEC report. In regards to Canada, Georgia’s exports of medical devices and pharmaceuticals to the nation have been part of a sector that has grown by 318 percent since 2004.
The chamber’s support joins that of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The national chamber weighed in the day the Senate signed the legislation, on Jan. 16. The House had already approved the measure.
Like the Georgia Hispanic Chamber, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce highlighted benefits for small businesses that are encompassed in the USMCA. A statement observes:
- “The USMCA provides strong rules of trade between our countries and further ensures that all businesses, especially small to medium-sized firms have equitable opportunity to participate in the economic benefits of free trade. This trilateral trade deal will have a sizeable economic impact with tangible outcomes for the Hispanic business community in the United States.
- “As a country we need 21st century trade policies that evolve our economic growth for the prosperity of all American business. This modernized trade agreement capitalizes on integrated supply chains that link U.S. manufacturers with their counterparts throughout North America which allows them to expand and contribute largely to the American economy.”