Congressman Steve Watkins (KS-02), the sole Freshman Republican on the USMCA Whip Team, submitted written testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee on the local impact the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) would have on Eastern Kansas. Congressman Watkins issued the following statement:
"USMCA will help Kansas farmers, ranchers, producers, and manufacturers grow and compete in the global market like never before. Passage of USMCA will bring North American trade into the 21st century and provide Kansans freer markets, fairer trade, and long-term robust economic growth and security. Kansans want trade, not aid. It's time to get this done. It's time to make a deal."
You can read the full written testimony below:
"Thank you Chairman Neal, thank you Ranking Member Brady and thank you to the members of this committee for the opportunity to testify. As members of Congress, when legislation comes across our desks, we must always ask ourselves "Is this good for my district?" As the representative for the great 2nd District of Kansas, I can say with confidence that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) passes this test with flying colors. USMCA will help Kansas farmers, ranchers, producers and manufacturers grow and compete in the global market like never before, and I'm honored GOP Whip Steve Scalise tapped me as the only first-term Republican to help whip support for this agreement that will lead to freer and fairer trade. USMCA is not only good for Kansas, but good for America. It will give businesses in Kansas and throughout our nation greater access to global markets and the stability they need to thrive. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Canada and Mexico are the nation's top export markets for U.S. agriculture, totaling a combined $40 billion in 2018. My home state of Kansas is a vital player in the world of North American trade. A short look at the numbers will tell you just that. Kansas exports to Canada totaled $2.5 billion and exports to Mexico totaled $1.9 billion in 2017 alone. There are more than 13,800 Kansas Manufacturing jobs dependent on our export trade with Mexico and Canada -- in short, this is vital for my district and the folks back home. NAFTA has been greatly beneficial for Kansans, but it remains a decades-old agreement that requires modernization. As negotiators looked to modernization, the message from farm families was "first, do no harm." I would like to commend President Trump for wholly following this goal. USMCA brings North American trade into the 21st century. Passage of the USMCA will bring Kansans freer markets, fairer trade, and long-term robust economic growth and security. I applaud Chairman Neal, Ranking Member Brady and the Ways and Means Committee's work to ensure the trade agreement maintains the Administration's goal of creating the best possible deal for Americans, including the recent subcommittee hearing on Enforcement in the New NAFTA. I urge my colleagues in Congress to continue swift and thorough progress, so the Kansas agriculture community and producers of our nation can begin to benefit from USMCA. The message from back home is crystal clear - Kansans don't want a trade delay, Kansans want a trade deal. They want USMCA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman -- I yield back."