For the fourth consecutive year, I was proud to lead the Greater Phoenix Chamber’s business delegation to our nation’s capital.
The Chamber’s annual Executive Dialogue Delegation to D.C. provides an opportunity for our members and Arizona’s business voices to interact with critical political leaders. Beyond that, it creates a platform for our political leaders to hear how national policies impact Arizona’s economic position.
This year’s trip was no different. Comprised of more than 20 Arizona business executives and community leaders, our delegation met with Arizona’s congressional offices and members of the Trump administration to discuss national issues with critical impact on our local economy.
While we discussed everything from transportation and aging infrastructure to workforce issues, perhaps the most important policy issue we learned about is the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement—the trade agreement meant to modernize and replace NAFTA.
NAFTA has been an essential element of Arizona’s growth strategy resulting in a trade surplus with Mexico, exporting 9.1 billion in goods and importing only 7.6 billion. In addition to that, Canada accounted for approximately $2.1 billion in exports in 2016.
Establishing a new, modern trade agreement with the two countries that share our border is vital to not only Arizona’s success but that of our nation.
The newly negotiated agreement enables more than $1.2 trillion in trade between the U.S., Canada, and Arizona’s leading trade partner, Mexico, to continue. The USMCA is an important agreement for Arizonan employers and businesses, and the fact that it will be a trilateral deal is even more beneficial for our state.
Our conversations in D.C. focused on USMCA’s details and their impacts. The business community is eager to see the inclusion of reforms to environmental and labor regulations, especially regarding Mexico. This new measure will require Mexican trucks crossing the border to meet higher safety regulations, which means safer driving conditions on Arizona’s highways.
While the conversations were productive and our delegates were able to have key questions answered, we know that the agreement is not yet final.
I speak for all of Arizona’s business community when I say that we look forward to reviewing the final agreement, along with any needed changes, adopted by Congress, and understanding how Arizona businesses will be able to leverage the USMCA for continued economic prosperity.