Opinion: House GOP Leader Hinch Says the USMCA is essential to NH’s prosperity

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House GOP Leader Dick Hinch, Twitter photo

By House GOP Leader Dick Hinch

New Hampshire’s farmers, manufacturers, and politicians agree: President Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will bring jobs, opportunity, and wealth to the Granite State.

The USMCA featured prominently in the President’s remarks when he visited Manchester for his latest standing-room-only campaign rally, where he touted the “countless jobs” the new deal will create in New Hampshire. We should make sure to cheer on his efforts to get this trade deal past its last great hurdle: approval by Congress

This comprehensive new trade agreement, which closes outdated loopholes and crafts an expansive trade framework for the 21st century, offers New Hampshire an incredible opportunity to further integrate with America’s two closest neighbors without the competitive burdens imposed by the job-killing NAFTA deal that it replaces.

New Hampshire boasts a diverse economy, and our exports reflect that. In 2018, we exported $5 billion worth of goods, including computer and electronic products, transportation equipment, chemicals, and metal products. 

Almost a quarter of those exports — $1.1 billion worth — went to Canada and Mexico, and the USMCA promises to significantly increase that amount through enhanced labor and environmental protections, intellectual property guarantees, and the elimination of foreign state subsidies that hurt New Hampshire businesses. 

The USMCA will open up new markets for our manufacturers, allowing them to expand and hire new workers. More than 3,500 manufacturing jobs and 434 firms in this state are directly involved in trade with Canada and Mexico. The jobs are well paying, with compensation averaging nearly $80,000 per year. The USMCA will protect those high-paying jobs and allow businesses to create even more of them. That’s why the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire supports the deal, as do many of the Granite State’s largest employers.

The USMCA will also protect New Hampshire farmers and the $140 million in dairy goods they produce each year. In recent years, American dairy farmers have been hurt by Canada’s protectionist policies for its dairy industry, which include both restrictions on U.S. goods entering the Canadian market and government subsidies for Canadian dairy producers. 

The USMCA will end those anti-competitive practices, which is why New England’s dairy farmers have come out in support of the deal. Once the USMCA is formally approved, New Hampshire dairies will finally be able to compete on a level playing field, which is all they need to thrive. 

Considering the widespread economic benefits the USMCA promises, it’s no wonder that Governor Chris Sununu has given the deal his vocal support. Not only did Sununu join the nation’s other Republican governors in signing a letter urging Congress to approve the USMCA, he also recently penned an article along with Vermont Governor Phil Scott explaining the deal’s importance to the entire Greater New England area. 

With the USMCA, President Trump has made New Hampshire an offer it cannot afford to refuse, and we need to make sure that Congress doesn’t stand in the way of our continued prosperity. 

If we’re loud enough, perhaps the obstructionist Democrats in Washington, D.C. will even hear our demands that they must expedite the approval of the USMCA and let New Hampshire start reaping the benefits as soon as possible.

Richard “Dick” Hinch is the Republican Leader in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, representing Hillsborough District 22, the town of Merrimack. He is serving his 6th term in the House.

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