Opinion: USMCA is a win for Michigan

Terry Bowman

When President Donald Trump came to Michigan in 2016, he promised to fight for better trade deals to protect American workers. After three and half years, that’s exactly what he’s done. This Wednesday, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will take effect, solidifying not only another trade deal for the president, but a major victory for Michigan farmers, auto workers and families.

The USMCA replaces the disastrous North American Free Trade Agreement that Joe Biden championed and helped pass. Biden advocated for NAFTA’s passage on the floor of the United States Senate, falsely predicting that NAFTA “essentially is going to be a wash on jobs.”

Wrong. In reality, NAFTA led to 825,000 American jobs lost due to higher trade deficits with Canada and Mexico. Michigan alone has lost more than 210,000 manufacturing jobs between the time NAFTA went into effect and the election of Trump. 

The USMCA will lead to more than 600,000 new American jobs, including 76,000 jobs in the auto industry. It protects the more than 338,000 Michigan jobs tied to trade with Mexico and Canada.

The deal contains a requirement that 75% of auto parts be made in North America. Some 40-45% of automobile parts are made by workers making at least $16/hour. The USMCA will be a nearly $235 billion jolt to our economy. The U.S. manufacturing industry is projected to receive the largest gains, and manufacturing isn’t the only industry that is set to thrive thanks to these newly negotiated deals. Agriculture exports will increase by billions as new markets in Canada and Mexico are opened to U.S. farmers, which will be a huge boost to Michigan and it’s extremely diverse agricultural sector.

Simply put — this is a huge win for the state of Michigan and the forgotten American worker.

President Donald Trump, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right,  and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, left, participate in the USMCA signing ceremony in November 2018.

The Democrats have resisted Trump so much that they even held the USMCA hostage for more than a year, waiting until after they voted on their doomed partisan impeachment to pass the popular bipartisan trade deal, simply because they did not want to give the president another legislative victory before the election.

Democrats made a conscious decision that creating good-paying American jobs is less important than harming Trump politically. 

Despite those partisan charades, Michigan residents understand that Trump is fighting for them and delivering tangible results.

Michigan residents are known for putting the world on wheels and have a legacy of winning on the world stage. After years of bad trade deals and poor leadership at the hands of Democrats, Trump has put Michigan back at the forefront. 

Terry Bowman is a 24-year Ford/UAW worker and the chair of the Workers for Trump National Advisory Board.