News Releases

Friday, May 17, 2019

Isakson: More Great Trade News for U.S., Georgians

Agreement reached to remove tariffs on steel, aluminum from Mexico, Canada

ATLANTA – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today welcomed news that a deal has been reached between the United States, Mexico and Canada to remove tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from those countries. This removes a major obstacle preventing Congress from considering the recently negotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which represents a huge win for Georgia consumers and businesses who stand to benefit from the agreement.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer shared the news of the agreement with Isakson during a call on Friday.

Isakson released the following statement in response:

“I am proud of President Donald Trump for reaching an agreement that is good for the United States and for Georgia farmers, manufacturers and service providers. President Trump is sending a clear message to our trading partners that he is a man of his word and to all Americans that he is willing to stand up for American workers and producers and counter unfair trade practices.

“While I was concerned about the ongoing use of tariffs and the unintended consequences they have on American businesses and consumers, in the end, President Trump brought Canada and Mexico to the table, dealt with the facts that were before him and negotiated a trade agreement between our three countries. Now that a deal has been reached and steel and aluminum tariffs are being rescinded and Mexico and Canada are no longer threatening to retaliate, the president’s approach has been vindicated, and he is to be commended for his efforts.

“The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will open markets for Georgia farmers and manufacturers and make the United States more competitive. President Trump’s decision today paves the way for ratification of this win-win agreement in all three countries. It’s time for Republicans and Democrats in Congress to come together, do what’s right for our country, and move this agreement forward.”

On March 8, 2018, the administration announced that it would impose tariffs on all imports of steel and aluminum from nearly all of our trading partners, including Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Isakson warned the president against imposing tariffs because of the potential negative impact on U.S. jobs and American business. He also feared imposing tariffs on Mexico and Canada would prevent the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement from moving forward, depriving our economy of the benefits from this update and modernization of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Isakson has also written to Lighthizer about the need to strengthen protections for Georgia’s seasonal fruit and vegetable growers who face unfair competition from Mexico. Neither the current NAFTA nor the proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement addresses this issue. Isakson plans to continue working with the Trump administration to remedy this problem as the ratification process moves forward.

Earlier today, Isakson applauded an announcement by the administration that it would delay a final decision on the imposition of tariffs on imports of automobiles and certain automobile parts. Isakson previously urged the president not to move forward with its proposed auto tariffs during a White House meeting on May 2.

Background on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement:

Last year, Trump notified Congress of his intent to sign the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, effectively replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement. On Jan. 30, Trump sent a report to Congress outlining the necessary changes to U.S. law required to comply with the agreement, a requirement under Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) granted by Congress.

Trump must now provide Congress with final legal text of the agreement, along with a draft “Statement of Administrative Action.” Within 30 days of submitting final text, the president must submit a draft bill to Congress detailing implementation of the agreement.

According to the independent, bipartisan International Trade Commission, adopting this agreement will boost our economy by almost $70 billion dollars and create more than 175,000 new American jobs.