USMCA fuels America’s innovation economy

By Erik Paulsen

The new North American trade agreement, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, is a much-needed modernization of NAFTA, which was signed more than 25 years ago.

USMCA will catalyze growth across the economy, especially in sectors that rely on strong intellectual property protections. America’s creators and innovators depend on lawmakers’ quick approval of USMCA as negotiated by its three signatory nations.

Innovation is the heart of the U.S. economy. Today, America’s IP is worth an astonishing $6.6 trillion and accounts for more than half of all U.S. merchandise exports. These vital industries — from tech, to manufacturing, and even agriculture — support more than 40 percent of U.S. economic growth.

When NAFTA was drafted in the early 1990s, the internet was in its infancy. To most Americans, WiFi, smartphones, and high-speed internet weren’t even imaginable.

USMCA modernizes NAFTA to account for several decades of innovation and establishes a fair framework for American inventors.

For starters, it requires Mexico and Canada to extend their copyright protections to match America’s. This change is crucial to the health of the arts.

The recording industry adds nearly $10 billion a year to the economy. And our movie and television industries are the envy of the world, generating $134 billion in sales in 2016 and supporting two million jobs.

Inadequate copyright protections in Mexico and Canada deprive American artists of well-deserved earnings: local companies are allowed to prematurely create knock-off products and steal sales. This abuse leads to lost revenues, lost jobs, and a hobbled economy here at home.

USMCA also cracks down on piracy. The Chamber of Commerce estimates that piracy costs Hollywood $71 billion every year. USMCA beefs up border security, empowering agents to more effectively identify counterfeit and pirated goods. This will ensure that American innovators can reap the full benefits of their labor.

USMCA will power decades of American prosperity. Mexico has already ratified it. And Canada has indicated it’s waiting for America to move next.

The next step is clear. Congress must ratify USMCA. This deal protects the innovation at the heart of the American economy.

Erik Paulsen represented Minnesota in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2009 to 2019. He served on the House Committee on Ways and Means and Subcommittee on Trade during his time in Congress. He currently serves as honorary co-chairman of the Pass USMCA Coalition.