January 16, 2020

Manchin Statement On Supporting USMCA Trade Deal

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today released the following statement on his support for the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal.

“During my time in the Senate, I’ve voted against every trade deal because of the devastating impacts they have had on West Virginia. 30,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs left West Virginia because of NAFTA. We can’t allow that to happen to our nation’s workforce again. President Trump and his team have worked hard to renegotiate this trade deal and cut a better deal for American workers, and I applaud their efforts. While the trade deal is not perfect, I believe that it is a step in the right direction that will protect and promote jobs in West Virginia. I will continue to work to improve the effectiveness of the sunset review included in this bill and to further stem the tide of illegal, online opioid sales not just in the United States but throughout North America. I appreciate Ambassador Lighthizer’s commitment to working with me on these two critical priorities. That is why I will support the USMCA trade deal and continue to fight for American workers and jobs in West Virginia,” said Senator Manchin.

Summary of the USMCA Trade Deal:

USMCA, composed of 34 chapters and 12 side letters, retains most of NAFTA’s chapters, but makes substantive changes to market access provisions for autos and agriculture products, and to rules such as investment, government procurement and intellectual property. Earlier this year, the US International Trade Commission found the initial version of the USMCA would create 176,000 jobs after six years and increase the GDP by 0.35%. Below are key provisions:

  • Automobiles: Compared to NAFTA, USMCA significantly tightens the rules that the auto industry has to follow in order to trade vehicles duty free in North America. A specific proportion of a vehicle will have to be produced by workers with higher wages, and a greater proportion of the vehicle’s parts will have to originate in North America. Additionally, 75 percent of North American automobiles must be produced in the region, and 40-45 percent of cars must eventually be made in factories that pay workers at least $16 an hour.
    • Side letters exempt up to 2.6 million vehicles from Canada and Mexico annually from potential 232 tariffs.
  • Energy: Like NAFTA, USMCA continues to provide continued market access for U.S. natural gas and oil products and investments in Canada and Mexico, and zero tariffs on natural gas and oil products. The agreement also provides new flexibilities in rules of origin certification requirements for oil and gas moving between the United States, Mexico, and Canada and further streamlines the regulatory process for U.S. LNG exports to Mexico and Canada.
  • Labor: The agreement strengthens NAFTA’s labor provisions by requiring that all three countries must not only enforce their own laws, but also must adopt and maintain specific laws on workers’ rights including prohibition on the importation of goods made by forced labor, promoting compliance through inspection and provide a living wage. In the agreement, Mexico has agreed to eliminate all forced labor, protect worker’s rights to vote for unions, and establish independent labor courts. The deal also contains provisions in which Mexico will allow inspections of their factories.
  • Agriculture: USMCA expands on the agricultural provisions of NAFTA by further eliminating tariffs on agricultural trade between the three counties. Under the agreement, Canada has agreed to reduce the majority of barriers for U.S. dairy exports and increase the number of U.S. poultry and egg products it will allow in to the country without being subject to tariffs. The United States has agreed to allow more access to the U.S. markets for Canadian producers of dairy, sugar, peanuts and cotton.
  • Intellectual Property: USMCA provides more stringent protections for patents and trademarks, including biotech, financial services and even domain names.
  • Section 230: Language in the proposed trade agreement echoes that of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a much debated portion of the law that protects online platforms, such as Facebook, from liability for their users’ content. Specifically, Section 230 shields online platforms from some of the liability associated with third-party content placed on those websites