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US trucking industry hails signing of USMCA trade pact

Feb. 5, 2020
Truck drivers front and center when President Trump signs the newly ratified United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

President Donald Trump signed the newly ratified United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement during a January 29 ceremony at the White House, with ATA President and CEO Chris Spear and 12 professional truck drivers from ATA member companies were in attendance.

“Today’s signing ceremony is the beginning of the next phase in our strong and productive relationship with Mexico and Canada,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “ATA and our members are proud to have been engaged throughout the process, attending the ministerial conferences and working with the administration and our trucking partners in Canada and Mexico to shape this final outcome. We commend President Trump for making this a top priority of his presidency and seeing it through to completion.”

Mexico had already ratified the new North American trade pact. Canada’s Parliament reportedly will ratify the agreement in the coming weeks.

USMCA is projected to increase annual US exports to Canada and Mexico by a combined $33 billion above the current NAFTA baseline. The agreement is also expected to increase US Gross Domestic Product by $68 billion, stimulating broad sectors of the economy that the trucking industry serves, like agriculture and manufacturing.

The USMCA was built around the North American Free Trade Agreement that took effect in 1994. It also incorporated some minor provisions that the Obama Administration negotiated in the Pacific Trade Pact that the Trump Administration rejected.

For the trucking industry, the trade pact is a big deal. In 2018, trucks moved more than $770 billion worth of goods between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and transnational trade between the three countries supported roughly 90,000 US jobs in the trucking industry—including 60,000 truck drivers. Those figures should only increase as USMCA is implemented.

“Trucks move 70% of all freight in the United States and 76% of the freight that moves between the US and our closest neighbors, so we expect trucking will see significant benefits from USMCA as the agreement boosts exports to Canada and Mexico and generates a measurable increase in our gross domestic product in the years ahead,” ATA Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of International Trade Policy and Cross-Border Operations Bob Costello. “We look forward to working with leaders in all three countries to ensure smooth enactment of USMCA.”

The following professional truck drivers—members of America’s Road Team—were in attendance, representing a combined 33.2 million safe-driving miles throughout their collective careers:

•    Ina Daly, XPO Logistics

•    Steve Fields, YRC Freight

•    David Green, Werner Enterprises Inc

•    Rhonda Hartman, Old Dominion Freight Line

•    John Lex, Walmart Transportation

•    Don Logan, FedEx Freight

•    Charlton Paul, UPS Freight

•    Dion Saiz, FedEx Freight

•    Russ Simpson, Holland

•    Dee Sova, Prime Inc

•    Tony Spero, ABF Freight System

•    Derrick Whittle, Cargo Transporters