California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA) comments on signing of USMCA and China Phase 1 deal

Los Angeles, California, January 29, 2020 – Statement from Eugene D. Seroka, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles and President of the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA), on President Trump’s signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) implementing bill and the Phase 1 agreement between the United States and China:

“CAPA and its members are encouraged by the Administration’s signing of the USMCA implementing bill and the Phase 1 agreement with China. Both developments are positive steps. More work remains to return stability and predictability to the U.S. exporters and importers throughout all 50 States and 435 congressional districts that use California ports.

“The agreement with China begins to address some of China’s unfair trading practices, and the Administration has also reduced some tariff rates, and canceled an additional round of tariffs. However, the agreement has left most of the Section 301 tariffs and Chinese retaliatory tariffs in place, disadvantaging and harming U.S. producers and consumers. We urge the Administration to begin Phase 2 of the negotiations as soon as possible, with the goal of removing the remaining Section 301 tariffs.

“USMCA modernizes the North American Free Trade Agreement, combining groundbreaking provisions on protecting labor rights and improving environmental protection, with high standard chapters in other areas, such as customs administration and trade facilitation and digital trade. The implementing bill also includes funding for trade-related environmental infrastructure projects on the U.S.-Mexico border. The new approach to labor and environment, coupled with the inclusion of infrastructure provisions, represents a positive development in U.S. trade policy that could form part of the template for future U.S. trade agreements.

“CAPA looks forward to working with the Administration on implementing relevant USMCA provisions, including the chapter on competitiveness which recognizes the importance of improving goods movement and modernizing U.S. supply chain infrastructure. Future U.S. agreements should contain provisions on climate change as well as workforce development.

“We also urge the Administration to help U.S. exporters – including producers of food and agriculture, energy, and manufactured goods exports – take advantage of these and other U.S. trade agreements by working with Congress to modernize U.S. physical and digital supply chain infrastructure, including ports and waterways, rail, bridges, and highways.

“There is insufficient export infrastructure to reach the numerical targets for Chinese purchases of U.S. goods under the Phase 1 agreement. We can identify the areas in need of urgent upgrading so that Congress and the Administration can take swift action.

“We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration on inclusion of infrastructure provisions (as in USMCA) as part of the Phase 2 negotiations with Japan. Such provisions will help U.S. exporters take advantage of new Japanese market access commitments and ship more U.S. products to Japan, as well as the rest of Asia.

“Inclusion of infrastructure provisions in trade agreements and their implementing legislation will increase the impact of such agreements on GDP by strengthening the U.S. supply chain and creating more high paying transportation and logistics jobs, both in and around ports and throughout the United States.

“We look forward to engaging with Congress and the Administration to help implement these agreements, develop ideas for future agreements, and realize our shared objectives of promoting U.S. exports and enhancing U.S. competitiveness.”

Background: Founded in 1940, the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA) represents the eleven California public port authorities in Sacramento, Washington, DC, and globally. More than 40% of the total containerized cargo entering the United States arrives at California ports and almost 30% of the nation’s exports flow through ports in the Golden State. Trade is also a major force in California, related to nearly 25% of the state’s economy. California’s public ports are a critical link in the international supply chain, and a vital component of our local, regional, state and national economic well-being. Port activities employ more than half-a-million people in California and generate an estimated $9 billion in state and local tax revenue annually. Nationwide, nearly 3 million jobs are linked to California’s public ports.