Womack Highlights Trade Issues in Arkansas’s Third District
Rep. Womack used the district work week to focus on trade issues impacting local businesses and organizations; Issues of note included the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, tariffs, trade negotiations, and economic development
Washington, April 26, 2019
ARKANSAS—April 26, 2019….Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) this week joined Arkansas businesses throughout the Third Congressional District to focus on critical trade issues. During the “AR-3 Trade Week,” Representative Womack met with companies in the manufacturing, agricultural, and transportation sectors to discuss trade negotiations, tariffs, and economic development issues. The insights from the week-long trade tour will be taken back to Washington and shared with stakeholders as negotiations related to ensuring free and fair trade agreements continue.
Congressman Womack said, “Trade is vitally important to Arkansas’s economy and the businesses that support jobs and growth in our communities. I appreciated hearing directly from companies, entrepreneurs, and workers about their trade priorities and challenges. These firsthand insights will be important to informing policy ideas and moving the USMCA and other deals forward. One of our nation’s most cherished values is economic freedom, and we need strong pacts that foster prosperity for decades to come.”
Summary of trade week events:
World Trade Center – Rep. Womack and Arkansas companies analyzed the United States Mexico and Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) at the World Trade Center Arkansas. The event was attended by multiple organizations that recently returned from a trade mission to Mexico led by the WTC. These companies included Lycus Limited of El Dorado, Sky Genie of Fort Smith, CreekKooler of Rogers, and Metova of Fayetteville. They discussed the status of the USMCA in Congress, strong increases in state exports to Mexico and Canada, e-commerce and intellectual property issues, workforce development, labor markets, and the political dynamics that impact trade deals.
USTR – The Congressman met Ambassador Gregg Doud, Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), at Tyson Foods for a briefing on trade issues. Ambassador Doud gave an update on current negotiations and then traveled throughout Northwest Arkansas to meet with agriculture companies and answer questions related to tariffs and trade negotiations. Importantly, the visit allowed representatives from the Administration to see the work being done in Arkansas’s Third Congressional District and understand local trade priorities.
Arkansas Farm Bureau – Farmers and ranchers are vital to the strength of Arkansas. When giving a speech at the Arkansas Farm Bureau Policy Summit, Rep. Womack touched on the importance of fair trade deals that allow for increased market access for local producers.
Acting Consul General of Canada – Rep. Womack met with Acting Consul General of Canada, Douglas George, to discuss the importance of trade between the U.S. and Canada, challenges related to tariffs, and mutual priorities. Canada is Arkansas’s top trading partner, and state products are vitally important to the country. Acting Consul General George presented the Congressman with the Maple Leaf Export award, which recognizes that the Third District exported over a quarter billion dollars in goods and services to Canada.
ABF Freight – Rep. Womack met with executives from ABF Freight and ArcBest to discuss how trade with Canada and Mexico impact their companies and the trucking, transportation, and logistics sectors. They discussed the USMCA agreement, steel and aluminum tariffs, China tariffs, and the need for solutions that allow for market certainty. U.S. trucking moves 82% of the freight that crosses Mexico’s border and 68% that crosses Canada’s border.
The companies all shared the same sentiment: fair and strong trade deals that address tariff issues are vital to economic growth and development. They acknowledged that Congress voting on the USMCA is an important next step. Trade helps fuel Arkansas’s economy – the state exports twice as much as it imports from Mexico and Canada combined. Arkansas exports to Mexico are increasing 3.6 times faster than exports to any other country. Additionally, more than 100,000 jobs in Arkansas depend on trade with Mexico and Canada.
Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011. He serves as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Budget and is a member of the House Appropriations defense and transportation, housing and urban development subcommittees.