The following letter was delivered to the Office of Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D., CA 36th District, on December 17, 2019.
Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. December 17, 2019
United States House of Representatives, CA 36th District
2342 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Peter Carlstrom, Field Representative
Re: United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)
Dear Congressman Ruiz,
On behalf of the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce (GCVCC) and our over 1,400 business members, we urge support and a timely approval of the USMCA by the United States Congress.
We understand that the USMCA, like most trade agreements brought before Congress, is not perfect. Within our own Coachella Valley, we have not been able to secure unanimous support for this trade agreement among all industry segments. That said, we believe in totality the provisions found in NAFTA with Canada and Mexico have been beneficial for California industries, agricultural enterprises, farmers, ranchers, energy companies and automakers, and has contributed positively to the sustained economic growth in our valley we have seen since its inception.
We also agree with the premise that it was time to update NAFTA. The reality of our economy, from technology advances to how we view and interact with global markets, has changed radically over the last 25 years. We believe updating the agreement to reflect those changes will better serve the employment, trading and environmental interests of the Coachella Valley, California and the United States, as well as, Canada and Mexico, and is beneficial to the business community in general.
Mexico continues to be California’s No. 1 export market, purchasing 17 percent of all California exports. California exports to Mexico amounted to $30.7 billion in 2018, an increase from the previous year. Computers and electronic products remained California’s largest exports, accounting for 25.8 percent of all California exports to Mexico. Exports of transportation equipment and non-electrical machinery from California to Mexico topped $5.9 billion, with electrical equipment and components increasing by almost $500 million as well.
Canada remained California’s second largest export market, with California exports to Canada increasing to more than $17.75 billion in 2018. Canada purchased 9.9 percent of all California exports. Computers and electronic products remained California’s largest exports to Canada, accounting for over 30 percent of all California exports to Canada. Two-way trade with Canada directly and indirectly supports approximately 1,166,00 jobs in California, with many of those resulting from export growth under NAFTA.
Beyond the trade numbers, as you are aware our Valley has a special relationship with both Mexico and Canada. Many of our residents, both seasonal and year-round, maintain close business, cultural, and familial ties to those regions. That special connection was evident this year when the Chamber, in partnership with Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, hosted a delegation from Jalisco, Mexico that included the Guadalajara Chamber of Commerce. We look forward to visiting their chamber with delegates from our Valley in the summer of 2020. While one small example, it is a powerful testament to the perdurable relationships that exists between our regions.
Our support for the agreement is also rooted in data, some of which is shared below.
Per the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, USMCA highlights include:
- Creating a more level playing field for U.S. workers, including improved rules of origin for automobiles, trucks, other products, and disciplines on currency manipulation.
- Benefiting U.S. farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses by modernizing and strengthening food and agriculture trade in North America.
- Supporting a 21st century economy through new protections for U.S. intellectual property, and ensuring opportunities for trade in U.S. services.
- New chapters covering digital trade, anticorruption, and good regulatory practices, as well as a chapter devoted to ensuring that small and medium-sized enterprises benefit from the agreement.
- The USMCA supports more than 11 million U.S. jobs.
- U.S. manufactured goods exports to Canada and Mexico support the jobs of more than 2 million Americans at more than 43,000 manufacturing firms across the United States. Thirty-eight out of 42 manufacturing sectors count Canada or Mexico as their first or second largest foreign purchasers.
- Canada and Mexico are the top two export destinations for U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises, more than 120,000 of which sell their goods and services in Canada or Mexico.
The objectives of the USMCA are to eliminate barriers to trade, promote conditions of fair competition, increase investment opportunities, provide adequate protection of intellectual property rights, establish effective procedures for implementing and applying the agreements and resolving disputes, and to further trilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation.
The United States should be committed to a swift and efficient approval of the USMCA. Global trade is crucial to the world economy, and trade agreements are an integral part of that success, both to the Country and the Coachella Valley.
As our elected representative to Congress we wish you the best, as you move swiftly to complete this important task.
Thank you for your consideration.
With kind regards,
Joshua R. Bonner, IOM
President and CEO
Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce
82921 Indio Blvd.
Indio, CA 92201
GCVCC Business Legislative Advocacy Committee
GCVCC Political Action Committee