Ottawa, May 18, 2017–“We’ve been waiting for this and we’re ready. NAFTA has been a positive agreement for all three countries involved but it is over 22 years old. A number of improvements can be made, and we look forward to working with the Canadian government to get a better, modern deal for Canadian businesses,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, reacting to the U.S. Administration’s triggering renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce intends to focus on digital trade, e-commerce, worker mobility and regulatory cooperation as the main areas of improvement for a new NAFTA. “This agreement was negotiated nearly 25 years ago, and the economies of all three countries have changed considerably in that time. Many of the changes that we want to see in this document will also benefit businesses in the U.S. and Mexico, which is why we think we can end up with a better agreement for Canadians,” said Mr. Beatty.
“By updating sections on digital trade and e-commerce, for instance, we ensure Canadian start-ups in app design have access to the huge potential of the U.S. market, or that online banking security standards will be the same across the continent,” he said.
“President Trump and his administration are talking tough, but we have to remember that when the Americans entered into this agreement 22 years ago, it wasn’t charity. It’s because it was a positive agreement for their economy. And when they sit down at the table and start looking at this deal section by section, region by region, they will soon see that that is still the case,” said Mr. Beatty.
By informing Congress that President Trump intends to renegotiate NAFTA, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has kicked off a 90-day preparatory process that will lead to official talks starting in mid-August.
“We will continue to use the time we have before official talks start to raise awareness among U.S. lawmakers of just how intertwined our economies are. Properly done, this negotiation will create the most modern, inclusive and strong economic block in the world, one that will benefit the economies of all three countries involved. If it is poorly done, everybody loses,” said Mr. Beatty.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. Follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom
G. Will Dubreuil
Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce