By: Governor Kevin Stitt
Special to Guthrie News Page
Earlier this summer, President Trump gave his 30-day notice, required by law, that he intends to submit the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal to Congress for ratification. USMCA rebalances the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and is, undoubtedly, a benefit for Oklahoma’s farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, businesses, workers, and consumers across our great state.
I believe a strong trade relationship with our neighboring countries is vital to Oklahoma’s economy today and future opportunities.
Canada is Oklahoma’s largest partner, with $3.9 billion in goods and services exchanged between our state and Canada annually. Canada is also Oklahoma’s largest export destination at $1.6 billion, and over 50,700 jobs in our state are dependent on the trade and investment with Canada. Mexico is Oklahoma’s second largest export market with $783 million in total exports in 2018.
As we position ourselves to continue to compete in both the national and global marketplace, these strong trade agreements are imperative to our ongoing success as a state.
As your governor, my goal is to foster an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship, a strong workforce, and a robust economy.
Oklahoma is taking off. I believe we have everything needed to be a Top Ten state. Our central location for distribution and manufacturing, our access to the ocean through the most inland port in the Port of Catoosa, our competitive utility prices, our rich natural resources, and our hard working people are all assets that we can leverage to continue to develop our spot in the global marketplace.
Oklahoma’s economic ties with Canada and Mexico will continue to strengthen under the USMCA, helping to boost development and expand opportunity.
The trade agreement will generate $34 billion in new investments and 76,000 new jobs in the auto industry across the United States. Oklahoma is well positioned to capitalize on these new jobs and investments through the new tax incentives for auto parts manufacturing that we signed into law this past session.
The USMCA will also ensure that regulation is working with industry in order to provide a streamlined trade process that creates more efficiency and transparency for our manufacturers and businesses.
Ultimately, this agreement allows us to continue to capitalize on our assets in order to bring more business, jobs, and economic growth to our great state.
The USMCA also benefits agriculture in the United States.
Agriculture is one of Oklahoma’s economic mainstays. With over 78,000 farms across the state, agriculture contributes more than $42 billion in output of economic activity in Oklahoma and employs over 300,000 people.
As governor, I am focused on economic development and growth that will add value to our commodities produced here in Oklahoma.
The USMCA creates and improves export opportunities for American dairy, poultry, egg, and wheat producers in the Canadian market, maintains zero tariffs on agriculture products traded between the United States and Mexico, and implements provisions that allow agriculture products to be traded more fairly, leveling the playing field for our hard working farmers and ranchers who produce food and fiber for millions of people worldwide.
I believe Oklahoma is at its best when people are gainfully employed, when wages are improving, and when people have the freedom to innovate and access to opportunity.
The USMCA helps us in this mission. I am proud to support this historic trade agreement between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, and I look forward to seeing its ratification.