Earlier today, Linda Dempsey, vice president of international economic affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), testified at a public hearing on the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), underscoring key areas to improve and modernize NAFTA in ways that will grow manufacturing and jobs in the United States.
For manufacturers throughout the United States, the North American commercial market is the most important market in the world, with Canada and Mexico alone purchasing one-fifth of all U.S.-manufactured goods production—more than the next 10 U.S. trading partners combined.
U.S. manufacturing output has nearly doubled since 1993, with U.S.-manufactured goods exports to Canada and Mexico alone supporting more than 2 million jobs in the United States and more than 43,000 manufacturing firms across the country. Partnerships among North American businesses have helped support this growth and the improved competitiveness of manufacturing in the United States.
NAFTA was negotiated before major technological and energy innovations helped transform what and how we manufacture in the United States. And furthermore, while U.S. negotiators sought to level the playing field fully in the original NAFTA negotiation, barriers and weaker standards remain in both Canada and Mexico.
In her comments today, Dempsey emphasized key points raised in the NAM’s June 12 public comments. Specifically, she focused on the need for a stronger NAFTA that grows American manufacturing, exports and jobs by:
- Eliminating remaining distortions and barriers in Canada and Mexico, including with respect to remanufactured goods and barriers on food product exports, particularly Canadian dairy tariffs and nontariff barriers;
- Raising standards to U.S. levels, including with respect to science-based regulatory practices, transparency, competition and state-owned enterprises, the protection of private property and investment overseas and intellectual property;
- Updating the agreement to include new digital trade provisions important to small manufacturers and those creating and relying on new technologies;
- Removing unnecessary red tape and duplicative regulations that are holding manufacturers back;
- Seeking greater collaboration by the United States, Canada and Mexico to take action to stop trade cheating from third countries; and
- Maintaining and improving neutral dispute settlement provisions.
The NAM and manufacturers embrace the opportunity to modernize NAFTA, and we are rolling up our sleeves to press for changes that further incentivize manufacturing in the United States and North America more broadly.
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