“The Long View” By MEMA President and CEO Bill Long

Date: September 11, 2019

As an industry, we have adapted to a lot of change over the last couple of years. We have risen to new opportunities, and we have faced unexpected challenges. We at MEMA call them “issues,” but I know what they are for you: real-world business problems that need real-world solutions. And one of the biggest issues we are addressing right now is the new North American trade deal.

You probably don’t need a refresher, but in a nutshell the background is this: President Trump fulfilled one of his campaign promises in 2017 and triggered a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). That launched an in-depth review of our trade relations with Mexico and Canada. Earlier this year the three countries reached an agreement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and it has been ratified by Mexico. The next steps are ratification by Canada and the U.S. A vote could take place in Washington as soon as this fall.

And it is critical that Congress pass the USMCA without delay.

To be honest, it was time for NAFTA to be renegotiated. NATFA, approaching the 25-year mark, was put in place before the internet era. It needed an update. MEMA said as much, in multiple meetings with the White House and legislators, in op-eds and newspaper articles in the world’s media. But we also made another message very clear: our industry, which is the largest sector of manufacturing jobs in the United States, can only continue to grow if there is a reliable North American supply chain that enables U.S. manufacturers to remain competitive globally. As an industry, we depend on it – and our country depends on us.

I cannot emphasize that enough: Our country depends on a successful motor vehicle supplier industry. And our industry depends on a reliable North American trade deal. Similarly, the current and future uncertainty that exists is crippling important supplier-investment decisions and negatively affecting growth. Passing the USMCA will help change that.

We have taken this message to the White House and to Congress, here in Washington and in the states. Our new, nationwide grassroots effort, the Supplier Advocacy Network, is gaining momentum. The program aims to educate legislators in their districts about the importance of passing the USMCA to jobs in their states as well as to secure the votes needed for passage. Every state is a motor vehicle manufacturing state. Every single one.

Passage of the USMCA is a vote to ensure America and American vehicle parts manufacturers have what they need to thrive in an ever-more complicated and competitive global marketplace.

America needs a successful vehicle parts manufacturing industry…and the industry needs USMCA.

MEMA and its four divisions serve as your voice, dedicated to advancing your business interests. It is our mission and together, we are moving the needle.

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