Recently, the Minnesota Trucking Association had the honor of meeting with our congressional delegation and was able to discuss issues facing our members. Most importantly, we advocated for the swift passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement because of the opportunities it promises for everyone involved in the trucking industry. This modernized trade deal has the potential to boost industry across Minnesota, and we hope our representatives in D.C. work in a bipartisan manner to ratify it this summer.
Simply put, the more goods traveling between the North American countries, the more work there is for trucking companies here at home. For Minnesota alone in 2017, we exported nearly $7 billion in goods to Mexico and Canada, and trucks transported a majority of those products.
When goods are able to move freely to our most important trading partners, everyone wins. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement would deliver many benefits to industries across the country and is expected to generate $100 billion in added GDP per year, according to Fox Business.
The trucking industry employs 50,000 individuals in jobs directly connected to cross-border trucking and an additional 7 million workers in trucking-related jobs; many of those workers are from Minnesota. Trade with Mexico and Canada generates $6.5 billion for the trucking industry every year, Transport Topics reported in January 2018. We believe a modernized NAFTA will only help to increase our revenues. For our industry, the agreement will represent an important opportunity to solidify our economic relationship with our neighbors to the north and south and to continue the movement of goods across borders without any red tape.
It is critically important that Congress pass this deal as soon as possible. There is a real threat that negotiations could go south and that President Donald Trump would pull out of NAFTA as a result. This would be a catastrophe for truckers across the country, as well as workers across other trade-dependent industries and consumers. It is estimated the premature withdrawal from NAFTA, without the passage of this new agreement, could result in the loss of 14 million U.S. jobs, would cost companies $15 billion in new tariffs, and would cost consumers an additional $7 billion, as American Action Forum reported in December 2017. This does not even take into account how much more difficult it would be for our truckers to cross the border. There would be so much more red tape and bureaucracy that it would take forever to transport anything to Mexico or Canada.
In today’s economy, a majority of companies are reliant on trade to operate. We need policy that creates an environment where our exporters can access vital international markets and our importers can receive goods without harmful tariffs. When free trade is the policy, the truck drivers across the country are happy because they remain busy shipping goods where they need to be.
Congress needs to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement this summer because there are so many people relying on the benefits it promises to bring to Minnesota and to the country as a whole. Work to get it done as soon as possible!
John Hausladen is president and CEO of the Minnesota Trucking Association in Brooklyn Center, Minn.