Ideas. Action. Results.

Grumet Says NAFTA Must be Improved not Abandoned

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Washington, D.C.– The following is a statement from Bipartisan Policy Center President Jason Grumet on recent NAFTA developments:

“President Trump’s decision to maintain the NAFTA agreement while negotiating for improvements is the right approach to the complex set of institutional and economic relationships that have developed over the past 25 years.

“NAFTA has created millions of U.S. jobs that are now dependent on that trade. However, as technological advances and shifting global dynamics reshaped the business landscape, NAFTA has remained largely unchanged.

“We commend the administration’s intent to update and reform NAFTA to ensure that U.S. interests and workers are protected, and to bolster our competitiveness. However, we should remain cautious about taking extreme steps that could damage American businesses and the overall U.S. economy.

President Trump’s decision to maintain the NAFTA agreement while negotiating for improvements is the right approach.

“The Bipartisan Policy Center recently launched a project to review NAFTA and advocate for necessary improvements. Our first event on March 23 looked at expanding the benefits of North American energy trade. Upcoming events will focus on opportunities to strengthen the agreement’s provisions on agriculture and digital commerce.

“While the president highlighted our trading deficits with our North American neighbors, it is also important to remember that Canada is still our largest export market and Mexico is our second largest. Together, they account for over a third of all U.S. exports and a quarter of all imports. For 42 out of the 50 individual states, Canada or Mexico rank as the first or second largest trading partner. That means millions of jobs and billions of dollars in investment.

“If the United States were to withdraw from NAFTA altogether, it would cause significant disruption and could severely damage U.S. competitiveness and national security. BPC encourages the administration to pursue a deliberative approach in consultation with federal, state, and local policymakers, major employers, small businesses, and our partners north and south of our borders.”