Senator Collins Joins Maine Businesses in Supporting New Trade Agreement to Help Create More Good-Paying Jobs

USMCA is the Replacement for the Deeply Flawed NAFTA

Maine State Chamber of Commerce: “The USMCA’s passage is vital for Maine businesses, will restore trade uncertainty and help our economy to continue to thrive.”

 

New Balance: “Senator Collins’ support and leadership on this trade agreement has been vital to ensure that our factories can continue to produce thousands of pairs of shoes annually for export to the Canadian market.”

 

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) today voted to approve the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).  USMCA passed the Senate by an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of 89-10.  It previously passed the House by a vote of 385-41 and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

 

The agreement has received broad support from hundreds of organizations in the business, agriculture and manufacturing sectors, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, United Fresh Produce Association, American Forest & Paper Association, AFL-CIO, United Steel Workers, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

 

In Maine, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, New Balance, Proctor & Gamble, Texas Instruments, Corning, Wyman’s, the Manufacturers Association of Maine, the Maine Dairy Industry Association, the Maine Potato Board, and the Maine Wild Blueberry Commission have also expressed their support for the agreement.

 

Senator Collins released this statement:

 

“Trade with Canada and Mexico is vitally important to Maine’s economy, supporting numerous small businesses and more than 53,000 jobs in our state. 

           

“In reviewing the text of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the replacement for the deeply flawed NAFTA, my paramount concern was ensuring that Maine workers will be protected.  After careful assessment of the benefits USMCA will have for those employed in Maine’s manufacturing industry, agriculture sector, and small businesses, I will vote in support of the USMCA.

 

“According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, USMCA is projected to have a positive impact on all broad industry sectors, increasing employment by 176,000 jobs and increasing real GDP by $68.2 billion.  This agreement also makes important improvements to labor and environmental standards and brings these issues into the core of the agreement.  This is a step in the right direction for modernizing trade agreements.

 

Dana Connors, President & CEO of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, said, Our border countries are important trade partners for Maine businesses, in fact, trade with our friends to the north is vital to many Maine businesses on a daily basis. The Maine State Chamber of Commerce thanks Senator Collins for her support of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).  The USMCA’s passage is vital for Maine businesses, will restore trade uncertainty and help our economy to continue to thrive.’

 

“One out of five Maine manufacturing firms export to Canada and Mexico, and the majority of these are small- and medium-sized companies. Without tariff-free trade, Maine’s manufactured goods exported to Canada and Mexico could face $6.3 million to $26 million in additional tariffs, jeopardizing Maine jobs.  Companies like New Balance, which employs hundreds of Mainers at its facilities in Norridgewock, Norway, and Skowhegan, and Texas Instruments in South Portland, depend on a stable North American supply chain.

 

Amy Dow, Director of Public Relations and Government Relations for New Balance, said,On behalf of our company’s Maine associates, New Balance supports the passage of the USMCA that will enable the continued success and future growth of our three manufacturing facilities in Maine. Senator Collins’ support and leadership on this trade agreement has been vital to ensure that our factories can continue to produce thousands of pairs of shoes annually for export to the Canadian market.’

Stephen Bonner, Texas Instruments Vice President for Worldwide Government Relations, said, ‘Texas Instruments is a long-time supporter of predictable, open-market based trade policies. We’re pleased that the new USMCA includes strong digital trade and intellectual property provisions to adapt the agreement to the 21st century economy, and support its passage.’

 

“Our agricultural producers also rely on a stable and predictable trading environment. U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico more than quadrupled between 1993 and 2017. In Maine, I have heard from producers in the dairy, potato, and wild blueberry industries who have shared their support for free and fair trade agreements.

 

“Maine has a special relationship with Canada in particular, given our shared border. While there remain frictions with Canada, including fishing rights, right whale regulations, and softwood lumber issues, Canada is our largest trading partner and has consistently been our top U.S. export market. As a native of Aroostook County, I know how many of our border communities are truly intertwined, with people and goods traveling back and forth daily. In 2019, Maine and Canada traded an average of $350 million in goods per month.  

 

“Ambassador Robert Lighthizer deserves recognition for his tremendous work on this agreement. It is impressive to see a trade agreement receive such strong bipartisan support.”

 

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Additional Maine industries supporting USMCA include:

 

Julie-Marie Bickford, Executive Director of the Maine Dairy Industry Association:USMCA is critical to channeling US dairy products into export markets around the world.  Exporting dairy products should help give a much needed boost to prices paid to dairy farmers for their milk, which have been in a 5-year slump.  The agreement also should create a more level framework for US dairy farms working with Canadian and Mexican counterparts.”

 

Donald Flannery, Executive Director of the Maine Potato Board: “We support this trade agreement, which will continue to allow free and fair trade of potatoes and potato products.  While Maine doesn’t export a lot of spuds, our competition in both the U.S. and Canada do, so it is in the Maine potato industry's best interest that these markets remain open to potato trade.’

 

Manufacturers Association of Maine Executive Director Lisa Martin and Chair of the Board of Directors Alan Lapoint:On behalf of the Manufacturers Association of Maine’s Board of Directors, we are in full support of the USMCA Agreement that will support mutually beneficial trade leading to freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth in North America. Reciprocity and the elimination of trade restraints will benefit the citizens of the countries by increasing trade and lowering the cost of goods. As an organization representing over 400 members and representing approximately 28,000 workers in Maine, this agreement provides strong and effective protection and enforcement of IP rights critical to driving innovation, creating economic growth, and supporting American jobs. This agreement encourages manufacturing and regional economic growth by requiring a higher percentage of parts are made in North America as well as higher wages for those manufacturing these goods. Enhanced regulatory compatibility, best regulatory practices, and increased trade among the countries are in everyone’s interest for manufacturing growth.”