New NAM Resources Underscore Importance of NAFTA for Manufacturers and Workers

Trade with other countries is what allows America to sell more of what we make to more customers overseas so we can help our own economy and create more well-paying jobs here at home. This is particularly evident in America’s trading relationship with NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico, which is the biggest and most important trade relationship for manufacturers and their workers across the country.

Given the ongoing negotiations to modernize the 24-year-old NAFTA agreement, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is releasing today a series of detailed state fact sheets that underscore the NAFTA relationship across many key states. Here are just a few highlights:

  • For Texas, nearly half of the state’s total manufacturing production is exported to Canada and Mexico.
  • For Michigan, nearly one-fifth of the state’s manufacturing jobs depend on manufacturing exports to Canada and Mexico.
  • For Ohio, Canada and Mexico purchase more of the state’s manufactured goods exports than the rest of the world combined.
  • For Wisconsin, more than one-quarter of the state’s manufacturing firms export to Canada and Mexico.
  • For Pennsylvania, motor vehicle parts and electrical equipment are among the state’s industries that have doubled exports to Canada and Mexico over the past decade.
  • Without NAFTA, U.S.-manufactured goods exports to Mexico alone could face a minimum of $5.8 billion to $70 billion in extra taxes or tariffs (compared to zero tariffs today). For each of 23 states, including Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin, potential maximum taxes on state exports to Mexico could exceed $500 million.

NAFTA has done a lot of good since it came into force, but it is not perfect, and it is long past time we modernized it to make it better. The current talks between the United States, Canada and Mexico offer a good opportunity to do so. Since these talks began, manufacturers across the United States have been seeking real improvements that will boost manufacturing competitiveness so that our manufacturers can reach more customers, expand local production and sustain and grow well-paying jobs across America. Specifically, manufacturers are seeking improvements to NAFTA that will:

  • Eliminate any remaining unfair barriers or market distortions in Canada and Mexico;
  • Raise standards to U.S. levels, including with respect to transparency, fair competition, good regulatory practices and the protection of private property, investment overseas and intellectual property;
  • Modernize the agreement to include new digital trade provisions important to small and medium-sized manufacturers and those creating and relying on new technologies;
  • Stop trade cheating from foreign countries by seeking greater collaboration with our NAFTA partner nations; and
  • Strengthen neutral and strong enforcement mechanisms, including investor-state dispute settlement, so that our trading partners live up to their commitments.

This is what a better NAFTA looks like, and it’s exactly the kind of deal that will benefit manufacturers and their workers across the United States. Not only does it prevent the negative economic effects of a bad deal or unilateral withdrawal, but it also makes things better in the United States by raising standards, strengthening enforcement and ensuring American companies and American workers are treated fairly.

Provided below are links to 15 NAFTA state manufacturing fact sheets prepared by the NAM, with more to come:

Ken Monahan

Ken Monahan

Director for International Trade Policy at National Association of Manufacturers
Ken Monahan is the Director for International Trade Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), where he works with NAM member companies to develop and advocate the association’s positions and priorities on trade agreement negotiations, ensure enforcement of existing trade agreement commitments, and other issues including the World Trade Organization (WTO), miscellaneous tariff bills, data flows and privacy, conflict minerals, forced localization, and other bilateral country trade matters (e.g., Colombia, South Korea, and the European Union and its member states). Mr. Monahan has on-the-ground experience negotiating trade agreements, having worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce on the WTO Doha Round negotiations, the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement and other international trade matters.
Ken Monahan

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