Modernizing NAFTA: A Look at Key Issues

The following article was published in Global Trade Magazine on Aug. 29, 2017.

By Phil Sutter, director of strategic analysis at Livingston International

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, entered into force in 1994 is to be renegotiated. Talks began earlier this month following the conclusion of the 90-day US Congressional notification period. The status quo is not an option; NAFTA will emerge with a new look.

There’s angst within the trade community, fearful of the impact changes may have on their business plans. The US Trade Representative (USTR) website shows 12,549 comments received during the recent public solicitation period. At the annual meeting of the American Association of Exporters and Importers in June 2017, the NAFTA renegotiation dominated many of the panel presentations.

Does this pending renegotiation now bring an opportunity to modernize the decades-old agreement? Could NAFTA be brought into conformance with more recent trade agreements and accrue benefits to all parties and their citizens?