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Arizona Chamber Of Commerce CEO Praises USMCA, Is Bullish On Biden

By Lauren Gilger, Steve Goldstein, Scott Bourque
Published: Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - 1:20pm
Updated: Monday, November 23, 2020 - 9:18am

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Under President Donald Trump, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was replaced by the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Trump criticized NAFTA as a bad deal for the U.S., and while many of his opinions have drawn criticism from the left, the USMCA brought a rare moment of agreement. Now, the new trade deal will carry on under a Biden administration, leaving some to wonder about the future of the USMCA.

This question comes at a unique time for Arizona’s economic interests. Voters have just approved a tax on the wealthiest Arizonans to fund public schools. The business community opposed the measure, warning that it would slow the rapid growth here.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, and The Show spoke with him for his take on Arizona's economy.

Glenn Hamer
Kaely Monahan/KJZZ
Glenn Hamer in KJZZ's studio in 2019.

In a separate interview, Hamer said nobody in the business community is going to miss the President’s 2 a.m. tweets or escalating tariff wars on trade partners. Biden, he said, has congressional experience and is unlikely to escalate President Trump's trade war.

"It’s very clear (Biden is) not going to threaten tariffs on any of our friends, and that’s a big deal for Arizona, because we build stuff with Mexico in particular," Hamer said. "Tariffs disrupt the economics of making things together."

Hamer said the Chamber is also hoping for a return to bipartisan governance, saying Congress should finally come together and get Americans another COVID relief package.

“I would expect to see something pretty significant in late January, early February," Hamer said. "And I believe the road is paved for a very big infrastructure package that would have bipartisan support and would address big things for Arizona."

The Chamber believes Republicans should retain control of the Senate, to ostensibly force both parties into finding bipartisan solutions to the nation’s economic problems. They said they want to see moderate candidates fill key Cabinet positions, especially those like Treasury Secretary that affect the economy.

"We would want to see a good moderate person selected for that position," Hamer said. "His selections are going to say a lot about where his administration goes."

Politico reports that former Obama-era Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is Biden’s most likely choice for Treasury Secretary. Hamer said she would be an outstanding choice.

"If he picks someone of that caliber and that type of approach, in the sense of working very well within the mainstream economic community, the business community is going to be very very happy," Hamer said.

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