USMCA would boost jobs, economy in New Hampshire

Free trade is critical to the success of the economy of New Hampshire and to the economy of our country. Many businesses across our state, especially manufacturers, or their customers, rely on exports to and imports from other countries to keep production robust and business booming. That’s why it is critical for our elected officials to promote free trade between the United States and allied nations. As the president of Gilchrist Metal Fabricating, a metal fabrications and machined components manufacturer, I know that there are no more important trading partners than our North American neighbors – Canada and Mexico.

Canada and Mexico are two of the top customers for New Hampshire goods, purchasing a substantial portion of the state’s foreign sales of manufactured products. In fact, in the Granite State alone, there are 437 manufacturing companies that export products throughout North America – companies, including Gilchrist Metal Fabricating, which support more than 3,500 jobs. So as lawmakers in the United States and across the continent consider the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), it’s important to keep these economically vital relationships in mind.

Signed into law more than 25 years ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA – the first trade agreement between the United States, Mexico, and Canada – was a forward-thinking agreement that bolstered the trading relationships across North American countries. Now, however, it’s more than a quarter of a century later, and NAFTA needs to be updated to keep pace with our fast-changing economy. That’s why the United States, Canada, and Mexico negotiated the more modern USMCA – and it’s critical that lawmakers from each country ratify the USMCA as soon as possible.

Among the many pivotal provisions of the USMCA, the agreement would establish new, best-in-class intellectual property standards designed to protect the ideas and inventions of American manufacturers further. It is no secret that strong intellectual property protections that safeguard a business’s or individual’s idea or creations is the very best way to fuel economic growth, job creation, and new discoveries.

America works extremely hard to protect innovation, and it is essential that our closest trading partners do the same.

The USMCA would also eliminate red tape for United States small businesses selling to and doing business in Mexico and Canada, and it would improve transparency with foreign governments to ensure a more level and competitive playing field. These are both vital parts of the agreement and would spur more, higher-paying manufacturing jobs and growth opportunities for manufacturers across New Hampshire and the United States.

In fact, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. International Trade Commission, the USMCA would create 176,000 American jobs and contribute over $68 billion to our economy. And much of this economic momentum would make its way to New Hampshire, boosting our businesses, raising wages and creating new, well-paying jobs.

The fate of the USMCA in the United States currently lies in Congress, where lawmakers continue to consider the details of the agreement. However, without the passage of the USMCA and a robust trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, manufacturers across New Hampshire and the United States would stand to face potentially staggering tax increases from higher tariffs, resulting in a loss of sales, fewer jobs, and businesses fleeing to other countries. This is simply not acceptable.

New Hampshire businesses deserve certainty in the North American market and the opportunity to grow operations and jobs across the Granite State. As discussions surrounding the USMCA heat up this summer, I encourage the New Hampshire congressional delegation in Washington to consider the many benefits of free trade and support the USMCA.

Jack Gilchrist is the president of Gilchrist Metal Fabricating Co., Inc., a metal fabrications and machined components manufacturer in Hudson, New Hampshire that serves companies and businesses around the country and world.

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