NEW YORK — The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which includes specific protections for small- and medium-sized businesses, received Senate approval and will go to the White House for President Trump’s signature. The Agreement had passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan 385-41 vote on Dec. 19, 2019. The U.S. Senate approved the Agreement Jan. 16 by a 90-10 vote. The U.S. will be the second country to ratify the USMCA (Mexico already has); Canada will need to ratify the Agreement as well for it to take effect.

“Today’s passage of USMCA is a win for American small businesses and the nation’s economy,” U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza said. “USMCA includes the first-ever chapter dedicated to small business and will enforce new intellectual property provisions, bolster innovation, and support small businesses engaging in digital trade. Additionally, USMCA removes burdensome regulations, reduces duplicative red tape, and lowers costs that will help the 30 million U.S. small businesses that employ half the private-sector workforce and create 2/3 of all new jobs, to better compete globally. President Trump continues to follow through on his commitment to modernize and implement free and fair-trade agreements that greatly benefit our nation. This is another example of the President’s insight into our economy and his unwavering support of U.S. small businesses.”

The USMCA’s dedicated Small and Medium Enterprise chapter, which is a first for any U.S. trade agreement establishes a committee on SME issues comprised of government officials from each country. Additional provisions simplify customs and trade rules and reduce barriers and costs small businesses have faced. The USMCA specifically:

Cuts red tape at the border and encourages small business consideration when regulations are in development and implemented; Supports the 21st century economy with strong digital trade detail supporting internet-enabled small businesses and e-commerce exports; Promotes small business participation in government procurement, offering another way to grow their customer base and expand; Protects innovators’ intellectual property; and Eliminates local presence requirements for cross-border service providers, benefitting small businesses by removing the burden of opening a foreign office to do business.

“President Trump’s priority has always been to put America first; that’s what the USMCA does, adding strong protections specific to small businesses. Entrepreneurs are creating record amount of jobs; they represent over 99% of U.S. businesses. The USMCA levels the playing field for small businesses and unlock opportunities for those that have yet to tap foreign markets,” stated SBA Atlantic Regional Administrator Steve Bulger. “This signature piece of legislation will support thousands of new jobs across the country, especially with exporters in our region.”

Small businesses represent approximately 98% of all exporting firms nationally, with roughly 82,000 small businesses exporting to Canada and 53,000 exporting to Mexico. In the Atlantic Region, New York State of the almost 34,400 small business exporters, a total of $20.3 billion to Canada and Mexico in 2018. In New Jersey, just over 18,605 exporters of 20,000 qualified as small firms, exporting a total of $10 billion to Mexico and Canada. Puerto Rico has 43,200 small firms with $73.8 billion in total exports; of that total, $1.4 billion were exported to Canada and Mexico in 2018.

With two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power in foreign countries, expanding markets through trade is one strategy for small businesses to generate and sustain business and economic growth. In FY19, the SBA helped approximately 900 small businesses that export by backing more than a total of $1 billion in loans to them. With SBA’s assistance, small businesses can more easily find their next customers in Canada and Mexico and every corner of the world.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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