Trade is a cornerstone of the American economy and plays an important role in the Kansas economy.
The United States needs trade deals that work for us and work in the best interests of American companies. The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is one such trade pact that will work in the best interests of American companies and Kansas. President Donald Trump negotiated this important trade pact, and now we wait for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to allow for Congress to vote to approve the deal.
In 2017, Kansas exported $2.5 billion in goods to Canada and $1.9 billion to Mexico, for a total of $4.4 billion. This figure includes $1.4 billion in transportation products, $739.6 million in agriculture, $722 million in processed foods and $404.5 million in manufacturing equipment. These numbers showcase how North American trade plays an important role in the Kansas economy and why we need the USMCA in place.
Among the provisions of the USMCA is new and innovative rules of origin, which will help our manufacturing industry. These provisions include new rules that require 75% of auto content to be made in North America. This will grow the U.S. automotive economy, including the General Motors Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City. The U.S. automotive industry has long been the envy of the world, and we need rules in place to make sure that this industry grows. The dream that Henry Ford put forward with the Model T is one of not just access to ease of movement but the growth of a strong manufacturing industry, in communities across the United States.
The USMCA will stop the drain of manufacturing jobs out of the United States and allow for new jobs to be created in the U.S. This will grow communities and stop economic decline. It will allow people to stay in their hometowns and keep main streets nationwide thriving.
The USMCA also fosters the growth of the innovation economy with new pro-growth rules for intellectual property and digital trade, along with cutting red tape for small businesses to engage in trade. This is a huge win for the Kansas economy.
Here in Kansas we have a thriving innovation economy. In Wichita, aviation companies are continuing to innovate in order to keep our country flying. The Silicon Prairie corridor in Kansas City and Johnson County is growing countless small businesses and bringing jobs to our state. The unmanned aerial systems research triangle brings together several of our universities in producing cutting edge research into UAS and allowing Kansas to become a national leader in this growing industry.
For our farmers, the USMCA has new provisions to help American dairy and poultry farmers export more to Canada. This includes new tariff rate quotas for U.S. dairy farmers, which will increase dairy exports. Dairy is an important part of the American agricultural industry, with dairy farms dotting the landscape across Kansas. The USMCA also includes new rate quotas from Canada for poultry and egg farmers.
Right now, though, one thing stands in the way of the USMCA becoming reality — Pelosi. Pelosi will not allow the USMCA to come up for a vote in Congress, blocking this economic growth. Mexico has ratified the agreement and Canada has said that it will move to ratify once Pelosi allows for a congressional approval. Pelosi needs to allow this important trade agreement to come up for a vote so that all Americans and all Kansans can begin to reap the benefits.
Wink Hartman is the CEO of the Hartman Group of Companies in Wichita and was the 2018 Republican nominee for lieutenant governor.