WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today released the following statement after a strong, bipartisan majority in the U.S. Senate voted to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The ratification legislation now heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
“As the USMCA heads to President Trump’s desk, today is a great day for Central Virginia farms, businesses, and workers. This trade deal will strengthen our district’s access to the critical export markets of our northern and southern neighbors—and it gives our businesses long-term certainty as they look to hire new workers and attract new capital,” said Spanberger. “Throughout the past year, I’ve had conversations with many Central Virginians about the need for this agreement, whether with our neighbors at a small paper company or a local dairy farm. They’ve wanted this agreement to be finalized for a long time. I’ll keep fighting for smart trade policies that can preserve relationships with their key buyers, protect the rights of their workers, and level the playing field for their fellow small businesses and producers.”
Last month, Spanberger joined a bipartisan majority of her colleagues in passing the USMCA in the U.S. House. Earlier in December 2019, Spanberger joined Vice President Mike Pence in a bipartisan meeting with five of her colleagues at the White House to discuss the status of the USMCA and the need to finalize the agreement.
In 2018, Virginia exported $4.3 billion dollars-worth of goods to Canada and Mexico. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, one out of six Virginia manufacturing firms exports to Canada and Mexico. For these manufacturers, the USMCA would raise standards, improve transparency, and end anti-U.S. discrimination from Canada and Mexico—as well as prevent a $466 million increase in taxes due to tariffs.
The USMCA would also establish preferential market access for Central Virginia agricultural exporters. For dairy farmers, the trade agreement would expand market opportunities in Canada, and it would eliminate an unfair milk pricing program that long allowed Canadian farmers to undersell U.S. producers. And for poultry producers, the USMCA would increase access to Canadian markets for chicken and eggs. According to a report from the U.S. International Trade Commission, U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico would grow by nearly 7 percent—and exports to Canada would grow by nearly 6 percent.
Spanberger has long worked to move the USMCA forward and fought for the trade priorities of Central Virginia businesses, workers, and producers, including by:
- Meeting directly with administration officials to voice the concerns of Central Virginia farms, businesses, and workers. In a May 2019 meeting with Deputy U.S. Trade Representative C.J. Mahoney, Spanberger discussed the status of ongoing USMCA negotiations and the potential benefits of the USMCA for Virginia’s economy. Additionally, in March 2019, she met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and fellow members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus to discuss the status of the USMCA.
- Hearing from Central Virginians about the potential benefits of the USMCA. In October 2019, Spanberger hosted a roundtable on the USMCA and trade with the Chesterfield County Chamber of Commerce and local business owners. And during her 2019 Farm Tour, she heard from farmers and agribusinesses about the need to protect critical trade relationships with buyers in Canada and Mexico.
- Pressing her colleagues to make progress on the USMCA. In November 2019, Spanberger spoke on the floor of the U.S. House to urge House negotiators and the administration to reach a final deal on the USMCA. Click here to watch her speech.