President Trump has set a bold vision for trade expansion and enforcement, including new bilateral agreements and improvements to existing pacts. Having a veteran trade negotiator lead these efforts will be critical as we navigate these negotiations. Know that we look forward to partnering with you to achieve our shared goal of greater prosperity for Americans.
You have started your new role with a full plate of expectations. As you have stated, one of your first priorities is modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement, with negotiations starting later this summer.
We recognize that a 23-year-old agreement needs updating, and commend your desire to make improvements and ensure strict enforcement. We are also keenly aware of the potential for damage to U.S. farmers, businesses, manufacturers, service providers and workers if longstanding agreements are suddenly vacated. Canada and Mexico are our largest export markets, and our $3.5 billion in daily trade with these two countries supports 14 million American jobs.
As freshman members of Congress, we are glad to enter Congress as the Trump administration begins to pursue its agenda. We were elected at a time when trade was a topic of national discussion. While we welcome this discussion, we also want to voice our support for leveling the playing field, providing new market access for our American businesses and capturing the security and foreign policy benefits trade agreements can provide.
Our competitors continue to negotiate agreements that expand access for their industries, which put ours at a disadvantage. This creates a sense of urgency that makes us glad our predecessors provided you with Trade Promotion Authority, empowering you to launch, negotiate and conclude trade agreements. It is our hope that you will make full use of that tool and work hand in hand with Congress along the way.
In your confirmation hearing you stated that your goal was to implement a policy that “… most importantly improves the economic wellbeing of our workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses large, medium and small.” We wholeheartedly share that goal and look forward to working together in pursuit of it.
The 32 Republican freshmen U.S. Representatives sent this letter to U.S. Trade Representative Rob ert Lighthizer. The letter and list of signers is available at http://bit.ly/2uD8uCc.