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California manufacturers need NAFTA

Posted by Ashley Hong, Policy Intern on May 30, 2017

The Trump administration recently opened a 90-day consultation period with Congress that will set the stage for a formal renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the rules for trade between the US, Canada and Mexico.

Announced in a letter from the United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the decades old NAFTA agreement was described as “outdated” and in need of modernization to incorporate more recent standards in US trade agreements. His letter also says the administration is motivated out of a desire to grow the U.S. economy.

It is hard to overstate the importance of NAFTA and other trade agreements to California's economy. Thousands of logistics and transportation jobs are supported by California’s role as the “state-of-destination” for more than 18 percent of all US merchandise imports (March, 2017). Our top export category is “Computer and Electronics Products”, a reflection of California’s high-tech manufacturing economy. And Mexico is our top export market – as their economy grows, the increasing demand there will support many new jobs here at home.  It’s a win-win. 

CMTA members include small and large manufacturers who greatly benefit from California’s access to robust supply-chains to connect with international markets for intermediate goods and final sales. They have relied on robust trade relationships under NAFTA to remain competitive in global markets and support high-wage manufacturing jobs in the state. Our proximity to Mexico makes just-in-time advanced manufacturing processes possible for the many California companies with trading partners located there.

We look forward to modernization of NAFTA to reflect advances in technology that have transformed our economy. We urge Congress to preserve and enhance those elements of the agreement that will improve the free flow of goods and keep California companies competitive in global markets.

In July CMTA will provide an update on the topics to be discussed in the negotiations. Questions about NAFTA negotiations can be directed to Dorothy Rothrock at drothrock@cmta.net.





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