Freight Rail Policy Stance: Freight railroads support Congressional ratification of the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) agreed upon by negotiators from the three North American nations. The pact includes important updates to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a wildly successful agreement that has expanded economic opportunity in the U.S. for railroads and their customers. The industry broadly supports free and open trade, opposing policies that restrict access to global markets, including the application of tariffs that impose additional costs to rail shippers and industry business operations.

Why This Matters: The free flow of goods across North America without burdensome tariffs makes American businesses more competitive, and the USMCA is essential to ensuring seamless commerce between the U.S. and two of its largest trading partners. The North American and global supply chains are integrated. Policymakers must be careful not to enact measures that roll back U.S. participation in trade and potentially harm American workers and the economy at large.

By linking businesses to each other here and abroad, freight railroads have played a crucial role in America’s economic development for almost 200 years.

American life is driven by employment and consumption, which is made possible by domestic and international trade. This trade, which happens across North America, depends on manufacturing and creating goods and services, transporting them to market and then selling them via various retail means — in person or electronically.

International trade, facilitated largely through free trade agreements, has benefited the U.S. economy. When U.S. companies — such as freight rail customers — have access to global markets, businesses and customers, Americans gain access to a greater variety of goods at a lower cost. Federal policymakers should be looking at ways to open more markets for trade, not considering policies to unnecessarily stop sustained growth. Passing the USMCA through Congress is the first necessary step to ensure needed market certainties and open markets.

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USMCA Coalition

AAR is part of a large group of U.S. companies and associations that are working towards congressional approval of the USMCA to preserve and strengthen the benefits of North American trade for American workers, farmers, businesses and consumers.