During a meeting with White House officials, lieutenant governors from across the country heard details of a new trade deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. It’s known as the USMCA, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Some state officials want the deal approved quickly.
“There’s so many different jobs in Arkansas that are dependent on free and fair trade,” says Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, R-AR.
Griffin says agricultural and aerospace industries in his state will benefit from the deal.
In Louisiana, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is focused on the seafood industry. He says cheap imports threaten the jobs of American fishermen.
“One of the things we’re pushing in Louisiana is just to have more inspectors, inspecting the seafood,” says Nungesser.
The USMCA was negotiated by the Trump administration to replace NAFTA, a decades-old agreement that governs trade between the three countries. But first, it must pass Congress.”
Some worry the deal does not go far enough to protect American workers from low wage competition.
Celeste Drake is a policy specialist with the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest federation of labor unions.
“Workers in Mexico are abused and exploited and not allowed to fairly form unions. That keeps their wages low,” says Drake. “Let’s not accept the current deal as good enough. Let’s make it better.”
Lt. Gov. Griffin of Arkansas disagrees, saying, “This one is a huge improvement on the one we had before.”
Griffin and Lieutenant Governors from Louisiana and Tennessee say they are confident the USMCA is a good deal for their states, as well.