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Greenville Business Magazine

Rep. Jeff Duncan: We Need America First Trade Deals

Jun 20, 2019 11:44AM

For months, America’s farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers have been waiting on Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat-led House to do their job and consider trade deals that put America First, like the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The agreement as it currently stands would bring our trade relationship with our neighbors into the 21st century while creating another 176,000 new jobs and more than $68 billion in new investment in the U.S. economy.

President Trump won in 2016 based on his promise to pursue trade deals that prioritize American workers and industries. The USMCA outlines stronger rules of origin in manufacturing and ensures that South Carolina’s agricultural exports, which are valued at more than $751 million, are guaranteed a market in Canada and Mexico. With more than 6,000 jobs across the Palmetto State focused on agricultural exports, it is critical that Nancy Pelosi stop stonewalling and allow this debate in Congress.

The USMCA also impacts manufacturing, another key industry for our state, by incentivizing the manufacturing of even more goods and materials. Last year, South Carolina exported more than $33.9 billion in manufactured goods. Under the USMCA, those numbers would only go up and ensure more high-paying jobs are created here at home.

In 2016, 84 percent of exporting companies located in South Carolina were small businesses. President Trump continues to keep his promises to small businesses across South Carolina by ensuring the USMCA cuts additional red tape and unnecessary customs levels. President Trump’s latest support for small businesses comes amid today’s record-breaking economy and tax cuts that are helping small businesses and middle-class families.

It’s past time for congressional Democrats to get to work on America First trade deals. Pelosi knows the votes are there to move our deals into the 21st century, but she would rather play partisan games than give President Trump and workers across the country a win. Pelosi even conceded in 2015 that NAFTA was not a good deal for American workers and didn’t result in bigger paychecks. The USMCA aims to remedy those mistakes by creating even more high-paying jobs for South Carolinians, establishing new markets for our agriculture industry, and putting our country on equal footing with our neighbors in North America. 

It is time for Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats to get off their hands and bring something to the House floor that benefits the people of this country. Let’s put America First!