Inhofe in the Oklahoman: Trump's trade policies benefit Oklahoma business

In August, I went to Woodward where I met with farmers and ranchers. Their message was loud and clear: President Trump is standing up for agriculture and manufacturing communities like no president has done before.

For the first time in decades, we have a president who is willing to put American jobs and workers first. President Trump is refreshingly unapologetic in his commitment to American workers, and I am proud to stand with him.

In Oklahoma, Pelosi’s actions are bigger than just the USMCA. President Trump recently announced he had completed negotiations for a free-trade agreement with Japan. Last September, he secured one with South Korea. Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers rejoiced. Japan and South Korea are the top export markets for U.S. beef and pork and these deals will rebalance the relationship with our top export partners. Yet until Pelosi allows a vote on USMCA, these other trade priorities will remain at the back of the line.

Ratification of USMCA will provide certainty for the future and boost economic growth for U.S. businesses and workers from every sector. It’s time for Speaker Pelosi to end her blockade of President Trump’s positive trade deals. Not only is she blocking President Trump, but she is blocking our economy’s ability to continue to grow.

Inhofe, R-Tulsa, is Oklahoma's senior U.S. senator.

He has put pressure on the Chinese government for its decades of trade violations, intellectual property theft and human rights abuses. He knows that standing up to the abuses now will ensure better terms and agreements for our farmers and businesses in the future.

President Trump also went after the outdated North American Free Trade Agreement. I was the only member of the Oklahoma delegation who opposed NAFTA because any benefits of expanding markets for American products were negated because the agreement harmed American truckers and put our businesses at a disadvantage. President Trump understood that, so he committed to updating the old agreement with one that leveled the playing field and reflected the realities of the 21st century.

The result? The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which actually promotes free and fair trade. More importantly for Oklahomans, it will create markets for our growing economy.

For our farmers and ranchers, the USMCA will open up Canadian markets to Oklahoma wheat, poultry, dairy and eggs. This is no small thing. Currently, roughly 15,000 jobs in Oklahoma are supported by agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico. That equals nearly $2 billion a year. But it goes beyond agriculture — Oklahoma’s manufacturers rely on North American exports too, to the tune of 10,000 jobs and supporting growing industries like chemical exports, aerospace products and parts and oil exports. Oklahoma isn’t alone — 49 states consider Canada or Mexico as one of their top trade relationships.

President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and former Mexican President Nieto signed the USMCA nearly a year ago. Mexico has ratified the agreement. But, despite the fact that the USMCA would add $68.2 billion to the U.S. economy and create more than 175,000 jobs nationwide, Speaker Nancy Pelosi refuses to let the House of Representatives consider the deal.

Over the past few months, Gov. Kevin Stitt, U.S. Reps. Tom Cole, Frank Lucas, Markwayne Mullin and Kevin Hern have been outspoken about the need for the House to pass the USMCA quickly. Senate leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to consider it promptly once it is received from the House. But, despite the USMCA being a balanced agreement that benefits American workers, Pelosi is still slow-walking its consideration.