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Great Lakes Metro Chambers Convene On the USMCA, Soo Locks, and More

The Detroit Regional Chamber and the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition met with members of Congress and their staff during a two-day fly-in to Washington D.C. last week to discuss the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the Soo Locks, and immigration.

During the visit, the Coalition met at the White House with staff from the National Economic Council and the Department of Energy. The Coalition emphasized the importance of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in providing funding to strategically target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem and to accelerate progress towards long-term goals. President Trump’s new budget proposed cutting funding for this initiative by 90 percent.

A later meeting with Deputy U.S. Trade Representative C.J. Mahoney placed a heavy importance on supporting the USMCA. The USMCA is the renegotiated trade agreement made between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Highlights from the agreement include adding new chapters that cover digital trade, anti-corruption, and good regulatory practices; new protections for U.S. intellectual property; and improving rules of origin for automobiles, trucks, and other products. This new agreement will go to Congress for approval before the end of the year.

In a meeting with Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI 1), the Coalition discussed ongoing repairs to the Soo Locks — one of the world’s busiest waterway crossings, handling 75 million tons of commerce annually and saving the Great Lakes region $3.5 billion a year on transportation costs. Last year, President Trump approved a federal grant of roughly $21 million that will go to repairing this crucial waterway.

Meetings were also held with Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA 19) on immigration and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) on the Coalition’s comprehensive agenda. At the end of the fly-in, the Coalition hosted a reception for the entire Great Lakes delegation and their staff.

For more information on the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, visit