Former U.S Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer praised President Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), saying it has resulted in a “Renaissance in US battery production.”
“Until recently, US auto companies sourced nearly all of their batteries overseas. USMCA changed that,” Lightthizer said in a statement in Trump’s Save America PAC on Oct. 4.
Lighthizer went on to explain that under USMCA, “An automobile cannot qualify for duty free treatment unless 40 percent of the content (45 for a truck) is manufactured by workers earning at least $16 per hour,” therefore, “Advanced batteries of the kind that will power new energy vehicles comprise such a high percentage of the value of these vehicles that it will be almost impossible for auto companies to qualify them under the agreement without sourcing the batteries in the United States.”
“The result we are seeing is a Renaissance in US battery production,” Lighthizer added.
Moreover, Lighthizer noted that SK Innovation officially announced a $2.6 billion facility that will open doors this year in Georgia. SK, along with Ford also announced an $11 billion investment in Tennessee and Kentucky.
“Without USMCA—and the Trump Administration’s strong actions to push back against China’s unfair trade practices—this new investment and the thousands of good paying jobs that go with it would have gone to China or other low wage jurisdictions,” Lightizer continued.
“Worker-focused trade policy works for America,” he said. “More of America’s cars of the future will be built right here.”
President Trump struck the trade deal between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, to replace Barack Obama’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The USMCA, which went into effect on July 1, 2020, was described by President Trump’s office at the time as a “mutually beneficial win for North American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses,” it stated. “The Agreement is creating more balanced, reciprocal trade supporting high-paying jobs for Americans and grow the North American economy.”
And those objectives are spurring growth today.