USMCA will unleash American innovation: Dems must not stand in the way

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters this week that the pending U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would need to be reopened and tweaked before the House will vote on it. This is bad news for America.

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Mexico earlier this month made a monumental step forward in becoming the first country to ratify the deal. With Canada not far behind, it is past time for Pelosi to allow the USMCA to move forward in Congress. Each day the Speaker waits to act, America is missing out on innovation, opportunity and increased job growth.

According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the USMCA will create 176,000 new jobs and increase U.S. GDP by $68 billion.

The modernized USMCA is light-years ahead of the outdated NAFTA and it will create jobs, boost wages, and open markets for American agriculture, manufacturing and technology. NAFTA is so outdated that it doesn’t even reference the internet. The USMCA is the framework for future digital trade agreements and will unleash unprecedented American innovation.

In addition to Kansas-grown wheat or Wichita-produced aerospace components, some of America’s most important exports also include our ideas. Every day, farmers, programmers, artists, doctors and entrepreneurs throughout our country develop new technologies and products. This innovative spirit is at the heart of America’s ingenuity and we should do everything we can to unleash it. The USMCA will unlock creativity, job growth and opportunity in our digital world and global economy.

The USMCA includes strong intellectual property provisions that protect American patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets. It also expedites the patent approval process in Canada and Mexico, allowing America’s innovative products to be sold in those markets sooner while protecting them from theft.

When NAFTA was negotiated in 1992, Motorola cellphones were carried around in a bag and just 1 in 5 households had a home computer. Even fewer than that could connect to dial-up internet in order to access the World Wide Web, which was unveiled in 1991.

Clearly a lot has changed in the last 30 years. Our laws and trade deals should change as well. As NAFTA was negotiated before the dawn of iPhones and Wi-Fi, updating intellectual property standards are critical. The USMCA meets the challenge of setting 21st century standards to support and protect American jobs and innovation.

Thirty years ago, no one could have imagined a drone delivering food to your doorstep within minutes of ordering it online from your phone. In 30 more years, one can only guess what new technology and innovation will be on the forefront.

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But one thing is certain – by passing the USMCA, we can make sure it’s American innovators and workers who are leading the charge.

Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kansas, has represented Kansas’ 4th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since April, 2017. He is a member of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means.