This week, representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico are meeting in Washington for another round of negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lightizer has indicated that this may be the final round of negotiations as the administration hopes to present the deal to Congress before November’s midterm elections.
As we’ve written about before, manufacturing plays a significant role in North Carolina’s economy, accounting for nearly 21% of North Carolina’s total output and employing 10.8% of our state’s workforce. Leaving NAFTA would serve a major blow not only to that growing manufacturing sector, but also to North Carolina’s competitive economy. If the United States withdrew from NAFTA, our state would lose nearly 400,000 jobs that depend on trade and investment with Canada and Mexico. As one of the states that would be hit hardest by withdrawing from the trade agreement, the NC Chamber has repeatedly called upon the administration to negotiate a modernized NAFTA that strengthens global competitiveness and cultivates more open and fair trade.
The last items on the negotiators’ docket include, among others: tariffs on automobiles, a sunset clause, and the dispute-resolution mechanism also known as the “investor-state dispute settlement,” or ISDS. Last year, we joined more than 100 organizations calling on the administration to preserve and improve investment protects as part of ISDS, and we are hopeful that a modernized NAFTA will strengthen the enforcement of fair treatment for our businesses. We’ll continue to monitor developments throughout this round of negotiations, and I will share any news with you when we have it.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs