Washington D.C. – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today released a set of guiding principles for the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). These principles underscore the stake that a wide range of American industries have in an open, integrated North American economy, one that better enables them to compete effectively in a challenging global marketplace.
In issuing these principles, NFTC President Rufus Yerxa observed that, “NAFTA has faced years of wildly inaccurate criticism, much of which blames the deal for job losses attributable to other factors, such as productivity gains and trade with China. At the same time, critics have failed to acknowledge the significant gains from NAFTA, which have manifestly outweighed the adjustment costs. For the overwhelming majority of American businesses, NAFTA has been a big help in growing exports, jobs and global competitiveness. We not only have a $600 billion market for U.S. exports to Canada and Mexico, but the broader North American production platform has made U.S. exports far more competitive in Asia, Europe and other global markets.
“Fortunately, the debate on NAFTA has become more balanced since the Administration announced its intent to renegotiate,” continued Yerxa. “It is now much clearer to policymakers that withdrawing from NAFTA or curtailing its benefits would irreparably hurt our economy, and that the only realistic course is to modernize and improve its provisions. NFTC’s guiding principles, together with our specific recommendations in key areas, focus on ensuring the right outcome for all Americans.”
NFTC’s guiding principles for NAFTA modernization are as follows:
2. The New NAFTA Should Strengthen the North American Production Platform: the agreement should strengthen North America as an integrated production platform for goods and services, enhancing U.S. producers’ competitiveness in global markets, while also maintaining strong investment protections in all three countries.
3. The New NAFTA Should Remain a Tripartite Agreement: the final agreement should maintain common rules and commitments among all three NAFTA partners. Separate bilateral agreements create greater inefficiencies for U.S. exporters.
4. The New NAFTA Should Reflect the Changing World Economy: negotiations should create new rules to ensure open markets in digital trade, e-commerce and other new technologies and modes of commerce that were not covered by the original agreement, establish new disciplines on state-owned enterprises and create better opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises to compete in global commerce.
5. The New NAFTA Should Update Rules in Other Areas Covered by the Original Agreement: negotiations should seek to update NAFTA’s rules on services, intellectual property, customs and trade facilitation, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical regulation, and regulatory coherence to both ensure greater fairness and openness in NAFTA trade and make NAFTA a better model for future negotiations with other regions.