Washington, D.C., June 13, 2017 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents the global interests of American companies, has released its recommendations to the Trump administration on priorities for the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The group calls on the administration to update the 20 year-old pact to accommodate new realities in global commerce, including the rise of the digital economy, while keeping what works from the original agreement.
“Our member companies, who collectively encompass America’s most successful enterprises on the global stage, strongly support modernization of NAFTA,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “But they are united in believing that this must take place as part of a broader strategy to open international markets for U.S. companies, and remove barriers and unfair trade practices in support of U.S. jobs.”
USCIB calls upon the administration to update and strengthen key NAFTA provisions, including the liberalization and protection of investment flows, protection of intellectual property, trade facilitation and improved agricultural market access. It also recommends tackling new areas not included or anticipated in the original agreement a quarter-century ago, such as the digital provision of goods and services, data localization requirements, treatment of state-owned enterprises. It further urges U.S. negotiators to work closely with a range of private-sector stakeholders to ensure that a revamped agreement meets business needs in the 21st century.
The USCIB statement notes that, since NAFTA’s implementation, U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico has more than tripled, with a positive impact on U.S. GDP of 0.5%, or several billion dollars of added growth per year. It cites a recent study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics which found that NAFTA did not foster noticeable growth in the overall U.S. trade deficit, and that increased trade with Mexico did not perceptibly raise U.S. unemployment.
USCIB says that several other areas currently covered by the agreement also require modernization, including rules on intellectual property protection, regulatory cooperation, services market access, and customs and trade facilitation. The group says that language agreed during the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations provides a useful foundation on these topics upon which to build for NAFTA modernization, as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have remarked. In other areas where NAFTA disciplines have stood the test of time, USCIB is urging the administration to focus on ensuring that those provisions not be weakened.
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world. As the U.S. affiliate of several leading international business organizations, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
Tel: +1 917 420 0039