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Trade organizations urge governments to resolve remaining NAFTA differences

By The National Marine Manufacturers Association

Preserving a strong trilateral agreement is essential to tens of thousands of marine manufacturing businesses in North America and a top National Marine Manufacturers Association priority.

Last Friday, U. S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s notified Congress that the Trump Administration plans to proceed on revising the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with or without Canada.

“This announcement is a mixed blessing,” said NMMA President Thom Dammrich. “While the agreement between the United States and Mexico is good news for American manufacturers, maintaining the trilateral nature of the trade pact is vital to the continued growth and success of our economy and the recreational boating industry alike.”

As America’s second largest trading partner, and the boating industry’s largest export market, Canada must be included before this deal is finalized and sent to Congress for approval, Dammrich said. As such, NMMA is urging the Trump Administration to focus on the positive momentum and goodwill generated recently to foster productive conversations with Canada.”

“In addition, to deem the administration’s NAFTA refresh a success, the changes must put American workers and businesses in a position of strength. That means promoting free and fair trade between all three countries so that American-made industries, like marine manufacturing, can flourish,” Dammrich added. “The announcement reminds us that it is still too soon to celebrate. Instead, we urge the administration to bring Canada back into the fold and swiftly finalize trilateral NAFTA renegotiations.”

NMMA Canada’s President Sara Anghel said last Friday’s announcement is a major setback for the $10 billion Canadian recreational boating industry, which employs 75,000 Canadians.

“As long-standing trade partners, free and fair trade between our countries is imperative to the strength of our respective economies,” she said. “In the absence of NAFTA, businesses and workers on both sides of the border will suffer. We started last week hopeful that continued negotiations would finally result in a better deal for Canadians, Americans, and Mexicans alike. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Negotiators must stay at the table until all parties are satisfied – ideally, in short order.

NMMA Canada remains cautiously optimistic that the U.S. and Canada can come to an agreement and ensure NAFTA remains an effective trilateral agreement. Then, and only then, will a new deal result in positive outcomes for hundreds of thousands of Canadians and Americans whose livelihoods depend on the pact, Anghel said.

For more information, please contact NMMA Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Legal Affairs Nicole Vasilaros at nvasilaros@nmma.org or NMMA Director of Federal Affairs Lance West at lwest@nmma.org.

Canadian-based members of NMMA should contact Anghel with questions at sanghel@nmma.org.

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