NRF Comments on NAFTA Renegotiation

Below is a statement delivered today by National Retail Federation Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold during a press briefing conference call on the North American Free Trade Agreement conducted by NRF, the American Petroleum Institute and other business organizations.

NAFTA Press Briefing Conference Call
September 22, 2017
Jonathan Gold
Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy
National Retail Federation

Thank you Jack.  NRF appreciates the opportunity to participate in today’s press briefing.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association.  We represent everyone from the single store operator to the large big box retailer to pure play ecommerce retailers and everyone in between.  Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans.  About 7 million of those jobs are directly or indirectly related to trade. 

We fully agree that after 23 years the NAFTA needs to be examined and updated.  Since the agreement was negotiated over two decades ago, it does not reflect today’s global value chain or many new ways of doing business in the global economy.  A number of its provisions affecting “old” ways of doing business need to be updated and modernized to reflect today’s business environment as well as what may come in the future. 

NRF and its members are very supportive of NAFTA, as well as other free trade agreements that not only open up sourcing opportunities for retailers to provide high quality products to U.S. consumers, but those that also open foreign markets for U.S. retailers to sell U.S. made goods to foreign consumers. 

U.S. retailers are the primary direct link between American families and farmers, workers and producers in the United States, Mexico and Canada.  This economic activity supports about 14 million U.S. jobs, in farming and manufacturing as well as a wide range of services sectors.

NAFTA has supported these jobs by freeing much economic activity between the countries of unnecessary burdens, and by helping to grow the U.S. economy in general.  

Over the two decades of its existence, NAFTA has eliminated high tariffs in all three countries.

It has helped to create new value chains that enable each country to contribute to the cost of production of key consumer goods, ensuring that the prices of those goods to American families are as competitive as possible.

As such, it has supported U.S. economic growth by providing U.S. producers and consumers with extra income to spend in new, growth-generating ways.

We must ensure that NAFTA modernization truly is a modernization of the agreement.  A withdrawl from NAFTA should not be a consideration at all.  We strongly support the “Do No Harm” principle by which the administration is following.  This includes continuing to knock down barriers among the countries, while ensuring that proper investment protections remain as a key part of the agreement.

 

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