Washington, DC - Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls attended the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, January 29, at the White House, having been invited by the Office of the President of the United States.
“It's an honor to witness the President signing the single most significant trade agreement in generations and for many generations to come," said Mayor Nicholls. "The USMCA is a historical win for American workers, businesses, and for the strong relationship with our trade partners. With USMCA in place, the future of Yuma and the 4FrontED binational megaregion is better positioned for economic strength than ever."
Mayor Nicholls attended the signing alongside several guests from Arizona, including: Mesa Mayor John Giles, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer, and U.S. Senator Martha McSally.
In 2018, Arizona had $20.4 billion in combined total trade with Mexico and Canada according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More than 228,000 jobs in Arizona resulted from trade with USMCA partners in 2017. Mayor Nicholls added that attending the event “demonstrates the importance of Yuma in the global economy, as our region and state’s economic strength is heavily reliant upon trading with Mexico and Canada.”
“The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry has a deep appreciation for Mayor Nicholls’ leadership in using his pulpit as Mayor of Yuma to gather support for the USMCA in Arizona and outside of our state,” said Hamer. “As a mayor with expertise on the border issues and an international media reach, he made the case that this agreement is great for our economy and security. It was a privilege to be at the White House ceremony with Mayor Nicholls and Mayor Giles.”
Discussions on the need for the ratified trade agreement have been occurring at the local level in Yuma, as well as at the state, federal and international level. In 2019, Mayor Nicholls partnered with the Consulate of Mexico in Yuma and Arizona Western College (AWC) to host a NAFTA 2.0 Binational Conference in the megaregion shared by Arizona, Baja California, California and Sonora.
The binational conference took place at AWC and brought together more than 150 private and public sector leaders to discuss potential impacts of the trade deal negotiations across a variety of industries.
Federal-level panelists representing governments of the United States, Mexico and Canada spoke on the potential impacts of the USMCA on the binational megaregion. Panelists included: Deputy Assistant Secretary for U.S. Field Operations at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Commission Ana Guevara; Consul of Economic Policy Relations and Public Affairs for the Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles Gavin Nardocchio-Jones; and Head of the Trade and NAFTA Office at the Embassy of Mexico in Washington Dr. Guillermo Malpica Soto.
The event allowed leaders to learn more about the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement that the USMCA would be replacing, and to participate in a question-and-answer session about the trade deal. The conference spurred discussion about how the megaregion could come together to press for passage of this important deal.
“So many have championed for this day to come,” said Mayor Nicholls. “I’m grateful to Arizona’s elected officials and partners who deserve the praise for working hard to ensure the best deal was struck to protect workers and promote opportunities.”