Public-private coalition urging refocus on ratification of modernized trade pact
WASHINGTON (April 9, 2019)—Amid growing delays at ports of entry as Customs and Border Protection personnel are redeployed away from the ports to assist Border Patrol in processing migrant asylum claims, an organization representing the cross-border trade community is on Capitol Hill this week encouraging Congress to refocus efforts on ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the successor trade agreement to NAFTA.
A delegation from the Border Trade Alliance, a coalition of public and private sector stakeholders that advocates for policies that encourage trade, is in Washington, D.C. today and Wednesday for a series of meetings centered on the importance of the USMCA to the competitiveness of the North American economies.
“While we certainly wish the disruptions at the border weren’t occurring, they have shined a bright light on the importance of cross-border trade to the health of the U.S. economy,” BTA Chair Paola Avila said. “Congressional ratification of the USMCA is critical for our manufacturers, our agricultural sector, and for U.S. consumers. Without the USMCA, manufacturing inputs become more expensive, consumer choice erodes, and our products marked ‘Made in the USA’ lose access to critical markets.”
BTA President Ms. Britton Clarke said her organization’s message is timely and necessary.
“We want members of Congress from both parties to gain an understanding that without USMCA, the U.S. position on the global stage will take a major step backward,” Clarke said. “We can’t let recent events distract Congress from the need to move swiftly to adopt the USMCA, which we believe makes major and important upgrades over NAFTA. From e-commerce, to intellectual property protections, to enhanced agricultural access, the USMCA positions the U.S. economy for further growth. Failure to ratify the new deal would represent a missed opportunity. We can’t let that happen.”
Avila said the BTA will continue to advocate for the USMCA and free trade until Congress passes the agreement.
“The BTA and broader trade community will continue to educate members from both parties on the importance of removing barriers to trade and keeping our ports of entry open,” Avila said. “We aren’t taking any votes for granted. We believe the USMCA will earn broad bipartisan support.”
Since 1986, the BTA has served as a grassroots, non-profit organization that provides a forum for discussion and advocacy on issues pertaining to border development and quality of life and trade in the Americas. A network of public and private sector representatives from the United States, Mexico and Canada, BTA’s core values include a commitment to improving the quality of life of border communities through trade and commerce. The BTA is online at thebta.org and @borderalliance.
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