The booming Ohio economy is about to get another colossal boost thanks to the groundbreaking U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

This historic trade deal provides vital protections for Ohio workers, who were among the hardest hit by the deficiencies of USMCA’s outdated predecessor, NAFTA. After suffering through America’s self-inflicted industrial decline for decades, Ohio workers are finally getting a trade deal that protects blue collar jobs by ensuring that they’re able to compete on a level playing field.

USMCA includes numerous provisions designed to correct long-standing flaws in our international trade arrangements. This includes new rules of origin that incentivize companies to produce goods in North America, rather than outsourcing production to low-wage countries with fewer environmental regulations and labor protections.

Under NAFTA, automobiles could qualify for tariff-free treatment even if most of the parts were made overseas and merely assembled in North America. Alternatively, USMCA requires that at least 75% of a vehicle’s parts be made in North America in order for it to be considered American-made.

Ohio’s robust agriculture community is thrilled that USMCA greatly expands market access for farmers, especially dairy farmers, who benefit from reduced restrictions on exports to Canada. Central Ohio’s rapidly-growing tech industry will be glad to know that USMCA offers innovative protections for intellectual property rights required to safeguard our prosperous digital economy.

“For the first time in American history, we have replaced a disastrous trade deal that rewarded outsourcing with a truly fair and reciprocal trade deal that will keep jobs, wealth, and growth right here in America,” the president explained last month, adding that USMCA is a trade “partnership” that allows all three countries to come out ahead.

Yet, while the entire continent stands to benefit greatly from USMCA, the biggest winners are blue collar workers right here in Ohio. In 2018, the Buckeye State exported a whopping $27.9 billion to Mexico and Canada, our number-one and number-two trading partners. This included $8.7 billion in transportation equipment, $3.1 billion in chemicals, $2.9 billion in machinery, and $2 billion in electronics. Indeed, some of Ohio’s biggest businesses rely on international trade, which is precisely why it’s so important for Washington to ensure that America’s trade agreements work for America’s workers.

USMCA is precisely the type of trade deal that Ohio has been waiting for throughout the dark days of the NAFTA era. The new agreement is projected to generate an additional $68 billion for the U.S. economy and create about 176,000 new jobs, many of which will surely be in Ohio, where the economy is thriving and businesses are expanding.

The era of one-sided trade deals that take jobs away from American workers is over. With USMCA, Ohioans can enjoy a prosperous future for ourselves and our families.


By Troy Balderson

Guest columnist

Congressman Troy Balderson represents Ohio’s 12th Congressional District.