Regional Business Association Stresses Importance of Trade with North American Neighbors to New England Economy

MEDIA CONTACT: Emily Heisig,

BOSTON, MA (June 11, 2019) – The New England Council, a non-partisan alliance of businesses and organizations in the six New England states, is calling on Congress to approve the US-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA), a free trade agreement that makes critical updates to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  In a letter sent this week to members of the region’s House and Senate delegations, the Council stressed the importance of free trade with these two key trade partners for the region’s continued economic growth.

“Canada and Mexico are two of New England’s top trading partners, and it is vital to our region’s economic wellbeing that we continue to have free trade with our neighbors to the north and south,” said James T. Brett, President and CEO of The New England Council.  “We have heard from Council members throughout the region, representing a wide array of industries, that they support the USMCA and the important updates it makes to NAFTA by addressing such issues as digital commerce and intellectual property protection.  We are hopeful that Congress will take action to approve the agreement in the near future.”

In its letter, the Council noted that Canada is a top export market for New England businesses, with nearly $8.8 billion in goods exported in 2018 alone, plus another $3.3. billion in services exported. The letter also noted that and that more than 430,000 jobs in New England rely on trade and investment with Canada. With regard to Mexico, the Council noted in its letter that exports from the six New England states to Mexico totaled nearly $4.2 billion in 2018, and in five states Mexico is a “top ten” goods export market.  The Council expressed its belief that these numbers will only be bolstered by the USMCA, as the U.S. International Trade Commission recently estimated the agreement will increase U.S. national employment by upwards of 176,000 jobs and raise U.S. real GDP by $68.2 billion.

The USMCA was signed by the three nations on November 30, 2018, following months of negotiations.  On May 30, 2019, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer sent a letter to Congressional leaders to begin the approval process and allow for the President to send the agreement to Congress within 30 days.

The New England Council has a long history of support for free trade.  In recent years, the Council endorsed legislation to allow for Trade Promotion Authority, supported free trade agreements with such nations as South Korea, Panama, and Columbia, and called for multi-lateral trade agreements with important trade partners in Europe and Asia.

The New England Council, the country’s oldest regional business organization, is an alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the region.  The Council is dedicated to identifying and supporting federal public policies and articulating the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England.  The NEC is also committed to working with public and private sector leaders across the region and in Washington through educational programs and forums for information exchange.  For more information, please visit:


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