WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. John Boozman, R-Arkansas, cited the World Trade Center Arkansas’ trade and jobs report while making a case for Congress to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is a revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which removed numerous trade barriers between the three nations when it was signed into law in 1994.
The WTCA trade and jobs report shows that Canada and Mexico, respectively, were Arkansas’ top two export destinations in 2018, accounting for $2 billion in goods while supporting 120,000 in-state jobs, said Melvin Torres, trade director for the Western Hemisphere at the World Trade Center Arkansas.
Since NAFTA’s implementation, Arkansas’ exports to Mexico have increased by more than 700% compared to just 300% with the rest of the world.
“In other words, Arkansas’ export growth rate to Mexico has been 2.3 times higher compared with the rest of the world,” Torres said.
President Donald Trump the signed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement with leaders from both countries, but implementing the new agreement still requires congressional approval, the AP reported.
Boozman cited the trade center report to argue in favor of congressional approval.
Arkansas exports to Mexico in 2018 increased by 2.3% from 2017 despite an overall dip in exports to the Western Hemisphere following new U.S. tariffs.
“The (center’s report) underscores just how crucial Canada and Mexico are for Arkansas’ economy,” said Boozman, who helped establish the center in Rogers in 2007.
“Combined, these two countries account for a third of Arkansas’ total exports,” Boozman added.
It’s unclear if Congress will vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement deal before the year ends, according to multiple media outlets.
The mission of the World Trade Center Arkansas is to grow trade and increase Arkansas exports by connecting Arkansas businesses to the world through international trade services.
The center is part of the University of Arkansas and serves as the trade promotion arm for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. For more information and valuable updates, please follow the center on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to the World Trade Center Arkansas newsletter.