As Talks Start, NAFTA Border States Urge Compromise


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From:, Washington

Mayors from the border towns between the United States and Mexico, and the United States and Canada have called for a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement to remain in place.

On August 16, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum met with other border leaders to voice support for improvements to NAFTA, on the first day of talks towards its renegotiation.

“There has never been a more important time for San Diego to champion international trade,” Faulconer said. “Trade, open dialogue, and collaboration create jobs, and economic prosperity for Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans alike. That’s why we are calling on federal leaders to preserve and modernize NAFTA for the benefit of future generations.”

“The North American Free Trade Agreement’s track record is one of economic growth and middle-class job creation. Nine million American jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada, and over one million of those are in California,” added Canadian Consul General James Villeneuve. “Negotiations have begun today in Washington, and Canada welcomes the opportunity to modernize the NAFTA. This is an opportunity to better align NAFTA to new realities in trade and investment and keep North America competitive.”

The leaders called for negotiators to embrace free trade and modernize the rules, ensuring that there are clear and straight-forward rules that small- and medium-sized businesses can thrive under.

Earlier this month, Faulconer, Gastélum and fifteen binational border mayors signed a formal resolution calling for continued efforts to engage and inform federal leaders about the benefits and importance of modernizing NAFTA.

NAFTA was negotiated in 1994 to remove barriers to the exchange of goods and services, spur economic growth, create jobs and enhance North American competitiveness.

Trilateral negotiations between the United States, Mexico, and Canada began on August 16 and are expected to take months. US President Donald Trump earlier said he would pull the US out of NAFTA if a substantial trade imbalance in favor of Canada and Mexico is not addressed.

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