NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - As we enter the new year a Louisiana congressman says prospects for new jobs in our region are good, thanks to the new U.S.-Mexico free trade agreement.
The deal which replaces the old NAFTA agreement is expected to boost shipping through the ports of south Louisiana.
More products pass through south Louisiana ports, than just about anywhere else and 2020 should be even busier.
"It's better for America to have better trade with Canada, but for New Orleans, it's a big win because so much of those new goods to be sold will go through New Orleans," said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La).
House minority leader Scalise says that the recently ratified United States-Mexico, Canada free trade agreement, also called the USMCA, should boost exports of agricultural and petrochemical products through Louisiana ports and that should generate plenty of new jobs.
"The estimates are over 6000 new jobs for south Louisiana, it's big for the national economy, but also an improved win for America, and south Louisiana", said Scalise.
The trade agreement, passed by Congress last month, is expected to provide new agricultural markets for American farmers, especially dairy, by setting up new price structures. The new deal also eliminates tariffs on petrochemical products, being shipped to Mexico and Canada.
"Our take on it, is when you look at major export businesses out of Southeast Louisiana, like agriculture, and petrochemical, this will support their export to Mexico and Canada as well," said Michael Hecht with GNO, Inc.
More than 60 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports and more than 50 percent of all U.S. energy exports go to Mexico or Canada, and much of that, comes through Louisiana, and it’s ports.
“When you look at south Louisiana, we make a lot of plastics and petroleum products, it gives us a better ability to sell petroleum products into Mexico,” said Scalise.
Congressman Scalise says the stage is now set for other new trade deals.
“It sends a bigger mesage to other countries, Japan wants a better trade deal, UK wants a trade deal as they’re going through Brexit, and then the big deal will be China,” said Scalise.
But with so much U.S. trade with Mexico and Canada, business leaders say USMCA should help pave the way for new jobs in 2020.
The new Mexico-Canada Free trade agreement also includes language that could clear the way for new collective bargaining agreements in Mexico.