News, Updates & Resources for the Region
The next round of NAFTA talks has been delayed to allow for a series of high level meetings in DC on Friday April 6th, (Next round of NAFTA talks on hold as ministers meet in Washington) between US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Mexico's Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Billarreal. The 8th Round is expected to begin next week, from April 8-18, although it has not been formalized yet. In addition, the leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the US will meet at the Summit of the America's April 13th-14th, where there is a possibility of signing an agreement in principle on NAFTA.
Since the last round of talks in March, the Trump administration has pulled back on some of its contentious auto-manufacturing requirements, but a number of serious questions remain, including carve-outs on steel and aluminum tariffs for Mexico and Canada, which expire on May 1st (U.S. sets May 1 tariff threat on Canada, Mexico amid rush to speed up NAFTA talks) and the proposed "sunset clause" requiring NAFTA renegotiation every 5 years. The US tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico received temporary exemptions after stakeholders expressed concern over impacts. PNWER issued a statement on the proposed tariffs on March 7th PNWER Letter to President Donald J. Trump - March 7, 2018 Also nearly 130 republican congressional leaders, led by Rep. Dave Reichert (WA) signed a letter opposing the tariffs
Nearly 100 Congressional Republicans sent a letter to the USTR to push to maintain the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in NAFTA, in response Ambassador Lighthizer's statements on his preference to do away with the ISDS process before the House Ways and Means Committee.
In Idaho, bi-partisan state legislative leaders have expressed their concern over the potential impact of withdrawal from NAFTA on the state. Minority Leader Rep. Erpelding and Senate Commerce & Human Resources Committee chair Sen. Jim Patrick co-authored an editorial outlining their concerns: NAFTA has been a game-changer for Idaho. Don’t damage Idaho agriculture, tech companies
Finally, here's a new tool developed by the US Chamber showing economic data by state related to NAFTA trade with Canada and Mexico: https://www.naeconomicalliance.com/nafta-and-you-interactive-map/ According to the tool, across WA, OR, ID, and MT there are 585,000 jobs supported by NAFTA and $13,218,868,498 in NAFTA supported exports.
Other NAFTA and Trade news:
Senate Ag chairman says trade disputes “not a good situation”
As Trump Threatens NAFTA (Again), States With the Most on the Line Ahead of Trade Talks
These deadlines explain why Trump's hurrying to get a Nafta deal
Alberta signs letter to U.S. President Donald Trump opposing steel tariffs
Any NAFTA deal in principle would focus on auto rules
In Nafta Shift, U.S. Focuses on Labor Standards
Contributions by Zack Tarhouni, PNWER Intern
TARIFFS: THE WRONG WAY TO ACHIEVE GREATER ECONOMIC GROWTH, RESILIENCE, AND SECURITY IN NORTH AMERICA
PNWER Statement on Steel and Aluminum Tariffs
March 7, 2018
TARIFFS – THE WRONG WAY TO ACHIEVE GREATER ECONOMIC GROWTH, RESILIENCE, AND SECURITY IN NORTH AMERICA
The highly integrated North American steel and aluminum industry supports critical manufacturing supply chains in both the US and Canada. Because of our interdependent economic ties, the proposed 25% steel and 10% aluminum tariffs will have unintended consequences which will seriously impact jobs and local economies in the US and Canada.
If tariffs are imposed they most likely will lead to higher prices for consumers in the US and in Canada which will limit economic growth. Canada buys more American steel than any other country and accounts for 50% of U.S. exports. The U.S. has a $2-billion surplus in steel trade with Canada, and US exports of aluminum to Canada support more than 160,000 US jobs.
Should any tariffs be considered on steel and aluminum, Canada deserves an exemption due to our shared economics ties, supply chain integration and mutual defense partnership.
Senator Arnie Roblan, (Oregon) PNWER President: “PNWER stands for the strong economic connection between our two countries. We have the longest open border in the world, and our trade policy should reflect that. The integrated supply chains that allow us to build world class airplanes depend upon stable, reliable, and open trade relationships with Canada that would be disrupted by any tariffs between us.”
"Canada and the U.S. share a long history of economic and security cooperation that has created one of the world's most enduring and prosperous international partnerships. Exempting Canada from the proposed steel and aluminum tariffs is the right choice for both our countries. It would mean these highly integrated industries can continue providing the prosperity and security that support so many businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs on both sides of the border,” said Graham Sucha, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, and PNWER Vice President.
PNWER supports the modernization of NAFTA to enhance the existing economic relationships within PNWER jurisdictions in a mutually beneficial manner.
PNWER Letter to President Donald J. Trump - March 7, 2018
More information about PNWER's trade advocacy here.
*UPDATE: Trump's steel, aluminum tariffs exempt Canada, Mexico
BIG NEWS in the trade world this week as President Trump announced his intention to implement tariffs on steel and aluminum, a threat that now hangs over NAFTA negotiations. Prime Minister Trudeau called the tariffs "unacceptable" and many in Canada and the U.S. are urging the U.S. administration to exempt Canada from any steel tariffs.
The seventh round of negotiations got underway earlier this week as representatives from the U.S., Canada. and Mexico convened in Mexico City for more talks. The latest news today is that negotiators have reached an agreement on regulatory best practices.
The last round of talks, which took place in Montreal in January, was described by USTR Robert Lighthizer as a "step forward, but we are progressing very slowly". Click here for a quick summary of where each issue stands following the Montreal round.
Here at PNWER, we have been closely tracking the progress of NAFTA. This week, a PNWER delegation, including CEO Matt Morrison, PNWER VP Rep. Mike Cuffe (MT), and Steve Myers, visited D.C. to speak with our Congressional offices and partners, including a meeting with Chief of Staff for Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA) Chair of the International Subcommittee of Ways & Means, and the lead for NAFTA negotiations in the House. They also met with the US Dept. of Agriculture, US Department of Interior, and the State Department and discussed PNWER's NAFTA Resolution and Modernization Recommendations, as well as the upcoming Farm Bill and Country of Origin Labeling (COOL).
In January, PNWER conducted our annual capital visits with President Arnie Roblan (OR) and had the the opportunity to meet and discuss NAFTA with our governors, legislative leaders, state commerce departments, and business stakeholders in Olympia, Boise, and Juneau.
PNWER CEO Matt Morrison also had the opportunity to speak Feb 22 at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade's Beyond NAFTA event. on the importance of the deeply integrated U.S.-Canada trade relationship.
Catch up on everything you need to know for the seventh round of NAFTA talks:
Attached is a handy reference sheet breaking down the costs to U.S. businesses, farmers, and key industries of withdrawing from NAFTA.
NAFTA negotiations round 7 underway as Mexico-U.S. tensions flare
Time crunch looms over seventh round of NAFTA talks
The Real Game Trump is Playing on NAFTA
A year later, NAFTA is still alive
Study: Withdrawing from NAFTA will cost 1.8 million jobs in the first year
In other news, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobsen has unexpectedly announced her retirement. .
Finally, I'd like to once again point out the great resource that our friends at the Business Council of Canada have developed which demonstrates the dollar value of each U.S. state and individual Congressional district's exports to Canada. The annual value of U.S. exports to Canada is $321 billion, and $13.8 billion in the PNWER states alone. We encourage you to utilize this resource - http://thebusinesscouncil.ca/canada-us-partnership/
The NAFTA negotiations have moved into the sixth round in Montreal with some uncertainty regarding the path forward. Over the past two weeks, we had a chance to meet with some of our governors, legislative leaders, state departments of commerce and business stakeholders in Olympia, Boise and Juneau. One of the top issues discussed during our visits was NAFTA and the possible scenarios unfolding in the coming months. Some jurisdictions have proactively engaged stakeholders to get their input on the importance of NAFTA to share with the administration and our congressional delegation. Idaho recently hosted a small business forum with the SBA to better understand the benefits of NAFTA and to seek input on ways to improve it. We are continuing to encourage our regional business leaders to reach out to the administration and congress to provide input as we move forward.
SEATTLE. – The Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) Delegate Council comprised of bipartisan legislators from the U.S. and Canada has just released a resolution on the North American Free Trade Agreement urging the U.S. and Canadian federal governments to support the North American economy and modernize NAFTA in a way that strengthens and mutually benefits both economies.
“NAFTA is important to our region’s economy, especially agriculture, and needs to be modernized. Walking away from NAFTA would have serious impacts to our integrated supply chains between the US and Canada, would result in loss of jobs, and would reduce our ability to compete in global markets.” said Matt Morrison, Executive Director of PNWER.
Canada is the United States’ largest export market, valued at US$320 billion in goods and services and the United States is Canada’s largest export market, valued at US$308 billion in goods and services, supporting 9 million jobs in the U.S., and 2.1 million jobs in Canada. In 2016, two-way trade within the PNWER region (AK, WA, OR, ID, MT and BC, AB, SK, NT, YK) totaled US$1.7 billion. (Specific export data to Canada by state and US congressional district, is available here.)
PNWER conducted a survey of key regional U.S. and Canadian industries, businesses, and stakeholders to develop a list of recommendations and overarching principles for a modernized NAFTA. The results of the survey were provided to both federal governments and can be viewed at www.pnwer.org/nafta-modernization.