Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is urging the state’s members of Congress to approve a proposed trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement would reset trade rules for the three countries. It would replace the 1990s-era North American Free Trade Agreement.
“This fair, flexible, and modernized trade agreement allows Maryland to strengthen our partnerships with Canada and Mexico and promote economic growth while ensuring a rules-based environment that will help American workers thrive,” Hogan, a Republican, wrote Monday to members of the congressional delegation.
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump promises the deal “will support mutually beneficial trade leading to freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth in North American.”
Mexico ratified the agreement last month, but Trump hasn’t sent the legislation yet to Congress and lawmakers in Canada have not yet approved it. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Washington last month to meet with Trump and to drum up support for the pact from members of Congress.
Some Democrats in Congress have raised concerns about the deal and it’s not clear yet when lawmakers will vote on its ratification.
Mexico and Canada are the No. 1 and No. 2 trading partners with the United States so far this year. The United States and Mexico have traded $257.7 billion worth of goods, and the U.S. has exchanged $253.9 billion worth of goods with Canada, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Combined, Mexico and Canada represent nearly 30% of the United States’ trading portfolio.
Hogan wrote in his letter that Canada and Mexico are important trading partners for Maryland, too, supporting 300,000 local jobs. He said Canada and Mexico receive 20% of goods that are exported from Maryland.
Hogan wrote that the new agreement would make it easier for Maryland businesses to participate in trade with the two countries, and would be especially helpful to the agriculture industry by eliminating barriers that have prevented shipping poultry, eggs and dairy products to Canada.
Hogan wrote that trade deals such as this “are essential to ensuring future prosperity for our nation and for the state of Maryland.”