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Assemblyman Hafen: The time to pass President Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement proposal is now

Nevada has been growing at a rapid rate, making it the fastest-growing state in the nation. Our business-friendly environment continues to bring new and exciting businesses, leading to an increase in both population and economic growth. Nevada’s companies are creating products and services, as well as finding new partnerships inside and outside of the United States.

So, it should come as no surprise that many of the jobs held by Nevadans are dependent on a healthy import and export environment. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), bi-partisan legislation being championed by President Donald Trump, is critical to maintaining a healthy trade environment with our neighbors.

Since in 2018, Nevada has exported $1.8 billion worth of goods to Canada and Mexico, supporting approximately 39,000 jobs – nearly one-in-five. Goods from Nevada’s workers are sold in 183 countries and territories around the globe like Switzerland, Canada, and China.

The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement framework puts many sectors of our economy in an advantageous position to grow and expand. Our rural communities’ industries, like agriculture, mining and manufacturing, stand to gain increased access to North American markets with the adoption of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Nevada’s agriculture is one of the fastest-growing sectors and would only benefit from the adoption of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. In 2018, Nevada exported $40 billion worth of exports to Canada and Mexico.

Nevada’s tax-friendly climate, combined with increasing demand for agricultural exports, especially in the North American market, puts us in a prime spot to take advantage of this new trade deal. Nevada’s dairy farms would also benefit under the proposed trade agreement through a new clause that would prevent the underselling of dairy products by Canada, making our products more competitive and leveling the playing field for our farmers.

Nevada’s manufacturing sector is also seeing a growth spurt as businesses continue to set up shop. This is especially true for communications and electronic equipment. In fact, computer and electronic products are now our leading exports to Canada and Mexico, amounting to $642 million in 2018.

To meet the demand, one out of every five Nevada manufacturing firms now exports to Canada and Mexico. Of these, 77 percent are small and medium-sized businesses with an average annual compensation of $61,487.

Free trade agreements are important for opening markets and creating economic opportunities, however, from time-to-time, it is important to review the terms of trade and adopt new agreements that better reflect our current economic environment. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement modernizes the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and supports mutually beneficial trade between Mexico and Canada.

President Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement has overwhelming bipartisan support from both Republicans and Democrats, business organizations and the American people. Unfortunately, partisan bickering in Washington D.C. has stalled its progress and consequently is preventing the further expansion and growth of our economy.

I urge our congressional delegation to put pressure on congressional leaders to get back to work and pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement for Nevada’s families. The time is now.

Nevada Assemblyman Greg Hafen II, a Pahrump Republican, represents District 36 in the Nevada Legislature. He is Nevada Rural Chairman of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.

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