Chamber urges swift, trilateral approach to modernizing NAFTA
PHOENIX (JUNE 12) – The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Monday submitted its recommendations to the United States Trade Representative as the Trump administration prepares to renegotiate the nearly-25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.
In its letter, the Chamber, a vocal proponent of strengthening the state and nation’s cross-border ties, recommended that negotiations be viewed as a chance to build on the successes of the three-nation trade pact.
“This is an opportunity to update and improve an agreement that has tremendously enhanced North America’s competitiveness and has improved the quality of life in all three countries.,” Arizona Chamber President and CEO Glenn Hamer wrote. “Dismantling NAFTA would be terribly disruptive to our deeply integrated supply chains and would inflict unnecessary harm on the U.S. economy, its producers, and its consumers.”
The Chamber also urged the administration to ensure that renegotiations occur swiftly and trilaterally.
“We don’t want negotiations to drag on, injecting uncertainty into the North American economy,” Hamer said. “We also want to ensure that NAFTA talks have all three partner countries at the table. As we wrote in our letter, Canada and Mexico are our neighbors, friends, and strategic allies. We need to stick together to modernize the agreement and boost the entire region’s competitiveness.”
The letter made several recommendations in policy areas ranging from customs regulations, to electronic commerce, to energy, to infrastructure.
“NAFTA is nearly a quarter century old,” Hamer said. “We need a trade agreement that reflects today’s economy. We live in a high-speed world, but NAFTA was assembled in a dial-up era. Let’s approach this renegotiation as an opportunity to emerge even stronger.”
The Chamber’s letter was part of a public comment period by the USTR that kicks-off a 90-day consultation phase between the White House and Congress before formal negotiations begin.
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