Washington D.C. — U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), along with 35 of his colleagues, sent a letter to President Trump highlighting that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) benefits the United States and outlining how President Trump can improve the agreement.
“NAFTA supports 14 million jobs, representing thousands of jobs in each of the 50 states,” the senators wrote. "Despite all of its benefits, however, we can do better and there are opportunities to improve the agreement. Modernizing NAFTA to increase market access, expand energy exports to maximize domestic energy production and including provisions on intellectual property and e-commerce will make this agreement even more beneficial to the United States.”
Co-signatories include Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), John Cornyn (R-TX), John Boozman (R-AR), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), John Thune (R-SD), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Rob Portman (R-OH), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Hoeven (R-ND), Steve Daines (R-MT), Todd Young (R-IN), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tim Scott (R-SC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Bob Corker (R-TN).
Senator Risch also spoke about NAFTA at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing this week. Regarding the long-standing trade relationship between the United States, Mexico and Canada, Risch said: "Failure is not an option or platitude here. This is something that has to be done. ... Can we do better? I think we can do better. And as all of you pointed out, people acting in good faith and spirit can and must reach a conclusion and there's no reason that can't be done." Watch the full clip here.
The letter reads in full:
We write today to reaffirm the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and congratulate you on efforts to modernize the agreement and put America first. You have the opportunity to unleash the American economy like no President has done before and fuel historic growth.
NAFTA has driven U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico to approximately $1.3 trillion annually. Whether manufacturers, farmers, or insurance providers, a wide range of industries in the U.S. have benefitted from this agreement and American consumers are reaping those benefits, too. Canadians and Mexicans buy nearly $500 billion worth of U.S. manufactured goods each year, translating to $37,000 in export revenue for every American factory worker, and U.S. agricultural exports to the two countries have quadrupled under the agreement from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $38.1 billion in 2016.
NAFTA supports 14 million jobs, representing thousands of jobs in each of the 50 states. Despite all of its benefits, however, we can do better and there are opportunities to improve the agreement. Modernizing NAFTA to increase market access, expand energy exports to maximize domestic energy production and including provisions on intellectual property and e-commerce will make this agreement even more beneficial to the United States.
Mr. President, your leadership has jump-started our economy. The recent tax reform bill is already leading to economic success across all industries and the stock market is at record highs. The next step to advance the economy requires that we keep NAFTA in place, but modernize it to better reflect our 21st century economy. We look forward to working with you and your Administration to make that modernization a reality and bring Americans even greater economic success.