A key trade agreement now makes its way to the desk of President Donald Trump after the U.S. Senate passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) with a bipartisan vote of 89-10 on Thursday.
The USMCA modernizes the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with updated provisions for digital trade, financial services, and agriculture trade. The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has called for its ratification in order to preserve and modernize U.S. trade ties with Canada and Mexico, which are by far the largest U.S. export markets supporting 12 million American jobs, and have a major impact on Kentucky businesses.
“Today the Senate will send this landmark agreement to the president’s desk. A big bipartisan win. And it comes the very same week as President Trump also signed Phase One of his administration’s trade agreement with China. Quite a week of substantive accomplishments for the nation, for the President, and for our international trade,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday.
In September, now Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts urged the state’s federal delegation to support ratification of the USMCA. She pointed out that the trade agreement is a boon for Kentucky businesses and guarantees that virtually all U.S. exports will enter these markets tariff‐free and will impact Kentucky’s top exporting products in aerospace, automotive, and pharmaceuticals.
“On behalf of Kentucky’s business community, we applaud the work of our federal delegation and Congress on the final passage of USMCA. Special thanks to Leader McConnell for quickly moving this through the Senate. Kentucky is a top state for trade and many of our signature industries including bourbon, automotive, aerospace, and agriculture have been negatively affected by recent tariffs. This bipartisan agreement shows that trade is important for economic growth and protecting businesses and consumers,” Watts said.
77 percent of Kentucky’s exports are from small and medium‐sized businesses and more than 512,000 jobs in Kentucky are dependent on trade.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill at the end of 2019 with a vote of 385 to 41. The trade agreement now heads to President Trump for his signature.