Published On: Monday, 29 January 2018

Chambers from NAFTA Countries Call For Modernized Agreement

Chambers from NAFTA Countries Call For Modernized Agreement

CANADA - Chambers of Commerce in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. want to retain the North Amercan Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) but also support the need to modernize the terms of trade between the three countries for the realities of the 21st century, since the original agreement dates back more than two decades.

Representatives of 27 metropolitan Chambers of Commerce from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico met in Montreal to discuss the trade agreement and how it should be modernized. All agreed that they are collectively united in favour of continuing the agreement.

The meeting was an initiative of the Canadian Global Cities Council and drew together eight Canadian, eleven American, and eight Mexican chambers. Collectively, participants represented economic zones worth more than $1.4 trillion US.

The group came up with guidelines to modernize NAFTA.

      1. Pursue a True Modernization of NAFTA. A NAFTA for the 21st century must maintain and reach beyond current benefits. Companies of the three countries will benefit from a renewed positioning of North America as the world’s most competitive region, today and in the years to come.
      2. Reduce Uncertainty. Uncertainty about the future of North America’s terms of trade could weaken growth and investment, undermining competitiveness as a region. NAFTA negotiations must continue on a steady timeline, backed by political leadership, until a win-win-win deal is achieved.
      3. Keep the Agreement Trilateral. Maintaining NAFTA’s three-party framework is critical as transitioning to entirely new bilateral agreements presents real risks. Such a transition could disrupt the flow of commerce and cost jobs. Also, moving to divergent rules would add to costs for companies and erode their global competitiveness.
      4. Ensure a Seamless Transition. Interrupting the $1.3 trillion in annual trade across borders or reverting to the high tariffs and other trade barriers that preceded NAFTA could put at risk millions of jobs that depend on trade within the region. A modern NAFTA should retain the existing benefits that businesses depend on. This approach would simplify and expedite the process and minimize the risk of disruption.

"NAFTA is an exceptionally good deal for all three countries," said Zoe Addington, director of policy for the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. "NAFTA has created economic ties between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico that have quadrupled trade, have increased investment and increased jobs."

The trade agreement adds up to over $1.5 trillion US annually. An estimated 14 million jobs in the U.S., two million in Canada, and three million in Mexico depend on trade between the three countries, Addington added.