“Now that President Trump has won agreement to replace NAFTA with the USMCA — the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement — he has an opportunity to build on that accomplishment, and broaden the benefits of trade to strengthen national security,” writes ARPN Principal Daniel McGroarty in a new op-ed for The Hill.
The next step, says McGroarty, would be the harnessing of “all the resources in North America, the full critical mineral and metals supply chains, to take manufacturing to a new level, and safeguard access to raw materials that are integral to the defense industrial base.”
His assessment follows on the heels of the just-released Defense Industrial Base Report the classified version of which details almost 300 defense supply chain vulnerabilities and sounds the alarm on our over-reliance on foreign – and mostly Chinese – mineral resources, which represents a “significant and growing risk to the supply of materials deemed strategic and critical to U.S. national security.”
McGroarty outlines three immediate steps the United States should take to alleviate these risks:
- Revitalizing the National Technology Industrial Base (NTIB) between the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia,
- signing USMCA Critical Mineral Defense Supply Chain Agreements to create a “North American common front on critical minerals” which harnesses “cross-border collaboration on critical mineral production and advanced materials processing;” and
- ending the aluminum and steel tariffs on our USMCA partners to ensure that “the U.S. defense supply chain is once again fully integrated across North America” and to reaffirm the importance of an integrated U.S.-Canadian Defense Industrial Base which rests on nearly 80 years of deep defense cooperation.
These steps, he says, are “essential if the U.S. is to counter China’s economic aggression.”
The question is, will stakeholders use the momentum generated by the new trade agreement to “take the strategic North American alliance to a new level?”