VIDEO: Watch a video of Bennet’s remarks here
Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, delivered remarks during the committee markup on the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Bennet announced his support for the agreement in December, saying that modernizing NAFTA and bringing our trade policies into the 21st century is a step in the right direction but that more must be done to lift up American workers, businesses, farmers, and ranchers. The Finance Committee voted to report the USMCA Implementation Act, sending the agreement to the Senate Floor for a full vote.
Bennet’s remarks as prepared are available below:
Trade with Canada and Mexico is vital for Colorado’s economy—from businesses on the Front Range, to ranchers on the west slope, and farmers on the eastern plains.
Last year, we exported $2.7 billion in goods and services to Canada and Mexico alone. While NAFTA helped establish these trading partnerships, I’ve long said that we should modernize NAFTA as our economy evolves. And while President Trump’s initial effort fell short, Democratic negotiators helped to fill the gap—securing more resources and new tools to hold our trading partners accountable on labor and the environment.
I’m thankful for the work on both sides of the aisle to get us to this point, and I support USMCA because it not only maintains key export markets for Colorado, it also brings North American trade into the 21st Century. At the same time, we have to be honest: Passing the USMCA will not ease the enormous pain and uncertainty from the administration’s feckless trade policy over the last three years.
Every day, the President’s unpredictable behavior casts a shadow of uncertainty over consumers, small businesses, and agricultural producers. Every day, farmers and ranchers are left to wonder if the President’s next tweet will collapse the value of crops they’ve already planted. And unlike this administration, they know that future growth will come from new, fast-growing, overseas markets.
Instead of securing those markets, the president is ceding them to foreign competitors, while forcing hardworking Americans to bear the cost of his tariffs and trade war.
So, while I am grateful that Congress is taking swift action to pass USMCA, today’s vote is not enough. We must do more to grow export opportunities and lift up standards around the world. And this administration must act responsibly—for the sake of American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.