By Rep. Mike Sanders
I received a call from the White House last Saturday inviting me to attend the signing of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
To say I was honored and pleased is an understatement. Being a former White House staffer under President George W. Bush, I know how very special and rare moments such as these are. I was equally honored because this agreement represents a victory for the farmers, ranchers and others in the agricultural industry and the many manufactures not only in my House district but across the entire state of Oklahoma.
These are the men and women on whom I have based my entire career of public service – the very ones I fight for every day.
The USMCA replaces the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which essentially eliminated tariffs on most goods traded among the U.S., Mexico and Canada. This new agreement is much better trade policy. It evens the playing field so that companies are no longer encouraged to leave America for cheaper labor. This puts American first, and consequently it puts states like Oklahoma, which produces a large portion of the nation’s agriculture and energy, in a leading position.
The new agreement governs $1.2 trillion worth of trade, affecting nearly a half billion North American consumers. It improves labor standards, grants U.S. farmers increased market access and puts new e-commerce rules in place.
The deal gives American farmers greater access to Canada’s agriculture markets, including dairy. It also sets rules for agriculture biotechnology and addresses labeling requirements.
In addition, it requires a higher percentage of autos be made from parts manufactured in North America (75% vs. 62.5% under NAFTA) and requires that at least 40% of vehicle production be done by workers earning at least $16 per hour.
This is a rare bipartisan agreement that improves life for American workers.
Combined with the signing of the “Phase One” trade agreement with China recently, this will additionally help boost our economy.
Of course I said yes to the incredibly gracious invitation from the White House. I flew out Tuesday to attend the Wednesday signing ceremony. I watched as President Trump put pen to paper – a move that ensures American workers a better stake in the future. What an amazing experience, one for which I will always be grateful.
On a separate note, my annual survey was sent this week to all of my constituents in House District 59. Please return to me with your answers and thoughts so I can know best how to continue serving you this year.
Please remember that if I can help you in any way, I’m happy to do so. I can be reached at (405) 557-7407 firstname.lastname@example.org.