This post was updated on Jan. 16.
In a step forward to address the nation’s growing housing affordability crisis, the Senate on Jan. 16 voted to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by an overwhelming majority of 89-10. The House ratified the trade pact on Dec. 19.
Trade policy affects housing costs and the USMCA has important implications for the home building industry.
The U.S. residential construction and remodeling industries rely on tens of billions of dollars in building materials sourced from Mexico and Canada annually because America cannot produce enough steel, aluminum and other materials and equipment to meet the needs of the domestic housing industry. The price volatility of these imported materials and equipment are needlessly driving up housing costs and exacerbating the nation’s housing affordability woes.
The USMCA is clearly a major improvement over the outdated 25-year-old NAFTA. By modernizing and strengthening free trade with our largest trading partners, the U.S. International Trade Commission predicts that the USMCA will create more than 175,000 new jobs, add about $70 billion to the economy and boost wages for American workers.
After the White House and the Democratic-controlled House reached an agreement last month to move forward on the landmark trade deal, NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde issued the following statement:
"NAHB commends President Trump and House Democrats for working together in a bipartisan spirit to reach an agreement on approving the USMCA trade deal, which represents a win for the U.S. economy, a win for American jobs and a win for housing affordability. Many of the products that go into American homes come from Mexico or Canada. By moving swiftly to ratify the USMCA, Congress will help to address the nation’s housing affordability crisis."