Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

300 Chambers Of Commerce Urge Trump to Keep U.S. In NAFTA

by Countable | 10.15.17

What’s the story?

Over 310 state and local chambers of commerce have sent a letter to President Trump, urging him to update, but not end, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Business leaders from all 50 states signed the letter, in which they claim that trade with Mexico and Canada "supports 14 million American jobs" and adds $1.2 trillion annually to the economy. They also point out that NAFTA’s been “especially beneficial for America’s farmers and ranchers.”

But in an interview with Forbes released on Tuesday, Trump said, "I happen to think that NAFTA will have to be terminated if we're going to make it good. Otherwise, I believe you can't negotiate a good deal."

Why does it matter?

During his campaign, Trump called NAFTA "the worst trade deal in the history of the world." In mid-July, the Trump administration released a lengthy list of objectives for the NAFTA renegotiation, which aimed to remedy the deal.

But Tom Donohue, the head of the Chamber of Commerce, has expressed concern with various U.S. proposals, including those for dispute resolution, auto parts, Buy American rules, and a sunset clause that could terminate NAFTA after five years.

"Let me be forceful and direct," Donohue said during remarks on Tuesday in Mexico City. "There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal."

McClatchy summarized both sides’ arguments, noting that "studies funded by groups aligned with unions say NAFTA has led to the loss of more than 800,000 U.S. jobs. Nonpartisan groups, including the Congressional Research Service…say NAFTA might have hurt specific U.S. sectors, such as auto manufacturing, but overall had a more modest effect on U.S. jobs."

Mexico and Canada are America’s two largest export markets, and also rank as two of the top three trading partners with the U.S.

"We recognize that this agreement is a quarter century old. It makes sense to modernize it," Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, told McClatchy. “But for the love of God don’t do any harm to something that has been so economically beneficial to states all across America.”

In the letter, the local and state chambers of commerce "agree that we should move quickly to modernize" NAFTA. But they urge Trump to:

"Support America’s workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses of all sizes by protecting and preserving the deep economic ties and benefits the U.S. continues to enjoy under NAFTA."

What do you think?

Negotiators from all three countries were in Washington, D.C. for a fourth round of talks. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also in town to meet with the President and pro-trade American lawmakers.

Add your voice to the mix.

Do you believe that NAFTA has been good or bad for American businesses? What would you change about the agreement? Hit the Take Action button and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

Related Reading

(Photo Credit: AlexLMX / iStockphoto)

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(177)
  • Matt
    10/15/2017
    ···

    Free trade is over all good for the economy. Automation is what is killing jobs and the small amount of people who benefit from automation is the reason for civil discontent. NAFTA makes our continent stronger and safer. Contributing to our national security. Shed light on automation if you want to talk about job loss. And talk about who gains from automation.

    Like (75)
    Follow
    Share
  • Jeff
    10/15/2017
    ···

    Perhaps said chambers of commerce should have elected Hillary then. But they didn’t! So let’s let this administration do exactly what we elected them to do, and quit criticizing the Trump administration for not behaving Like Democrats would have — had they won.

    Like (51)
    Follow
    Share
  • Alan
    10/15/2017
    ···

    Regarding comment by Veteran. I’m sorry to say this but no. It was not NAFTA that caused the decline in manufacturing jobs in the USA. If you paid attention even in grade or high school, the industrial revolution started this (ie ford and the assembly line) ;skip over two world wars, and it peaked in the 1950’s. NAFTA kept prices low for the American consumer. But the fact that Russia, as well as China, Southeast Asia, and other countries were moving from 3rd world status and conditions toward first world status. (Actually Russia is probably more appropriate called 2nd world although the term is never used because it’s only referenced as a move from third to first). Do the math. Two of the largest (actually THE two largest if I’m correct) populated nations in the world began this process. Just like America did ages ago. It had masses of people to fill the manufacturing jobs. Same with the housing market. Tons of soldiers came home and found great paying manufacturing jobs. But the dream wouldn’t last forever. It was lucky and manufacturing wasn’t something that you sit and blame on a politician. Economist, or anyone for that matter. It was bound to decline. Read old research papers if you can get access to scholarly journals like JSTOR. And in both those nations, they had an even larger population than we did. So that means they have even more power via manufacturing. That’s why so many products come from there. It was inevitable. The only thing that could have delayed it was lack of raw materials. But between China and Russia both last areas of land provide everything from oil to cotton. Does anyone else pay attention to things like the cost of scrap metal? Ten years ago China started buying scrap metal at rates double what American companies were paying. Nobody complained then because everyone’s uncle with the old rusty truck was driving around the neighborhood on garbage day filling it up with scrap. A few years back they stopped paying those amounts. They had Enough and they built what they needed. The factories, roadways, trains and tracks. If anyone isn’t as self centered as many Americans, the biggest news worldwide outside of N Korean threats is the building of a major r road and railway coming from central China and along the eastern edge of India and western side of Vietnam’s Cambodia Southeast Asia. This roadway puts those factories and opens up otherwise blocked areas, areas that contain just about half of the worlds total population and raw materials along with the products and makes them accessible to ports and shipping. And guess what that means. China, India Asia in general can now provide all those goods to us at even cheaper rates. That strengthens a their grip on manufacturing and trade. They can afford to take a hit if we raise tariffs. Look up a recent BBC documentary called “China’s New Silk Road.” Even if we put huge tariffs on those goods they can afford to lower the prices still. And that’s actually a good thing. Many would say we need to raise them to make the more costly American good competitive with them. .lit does work in Europe. But note how Europe enforced that half product shelves have to be homemade and manufactured there. Ask people all over Europe. It makes the cost of good MUCH more expensive. And Europe doesn’t fare extravagantly better (Scotland is the place I’m am specifically referring to in this case). Now most people would say that they would rather pay more for goods to help out the country but what people say and do are two very different cases. I call this the “Burger Ling effect”. Burger King interviews its customers and asks them what they want them to change. Of course being that there are documentaries about the unhealthy stats of fast food, most people say they want healthier options. It was probably almost a decade ago when “Super Size Me” came out. Burger King caught a lot of heat because they rel asked a gigantic high calorie chicken sandwich meal in the midst of all this. And a burger kIng responded truthfully by saying that they do hear people asking for healthier food, but they went further in their research and followed the people who said that. And watched what and how they order. And guess what. Even after putting a salad or anything healthier they asked for. They do not order that way. They wanted the high calorie delicious fast stuff. So they were simply doing what the people wanted (even though they claimed otherwise). Going back to the topic, the cost of both American and Chinese goods would have skyrocketed in a trade war but we knew even back in the eighties we couldn’t win that trade war. Clinton and other politicians in the nineties realized this. They couldn’t save manufacturing. The writing was on the wall already even though nobody wanted to admit it. Sorry the best thing prion was to do our best to strengthen trade with our close neighbors in the hope that China wouldn’t have a monopoly world did on manufactured goods. Because then they could really pull leverage on not just us but Europe and every nation in the world. And yes studies today say NAFTA only worked moderately. But the numbers show a bit more than that imho. I believe one study said ten fold increase in traded goods. Much of that would have occurred naturally anyway (globalization is a process that’s expected to occur naturally worldwide as information transportation etc increases and no it’s not a world wide conspiracy. -shut up Alex Jones infowars is the largest fear lingering detriment to intelligence worldwide). It was on its way out no matter what; stop trying to blame politicians for something they did was going to happen as early as the 1960’s (yep look it up in economic research 60’s-70’s) So NAFTA was meant to ensure and satablize the cost of goods in America. To keep them low. Yeah we would take a hit on manufacturing but we might as well save the citizens as much money as possible through purchasing(as well as companies they purchase as much as families I don’t know the exact numbers but Those count in the numbers). That left more money in the pockets of consumers which was far more important than saving money for manufacturing companies. Look at the company moving jobs to mexico from Mike Pence’s Indiana. We paid them and extraordinary amount to stay and they still sent half the jobs there. You can’t blame them. If we really wanted to compete American workers would have to accept wages that are comparable to those third world 2nd world nations. Guess what. Those rates are fine in a country like Mexico where rent food etc is cheaper. But now you realize why we won’t do that here. It only builds poverty. The middle class is dying. And manufacturing can’t save it. The only other option is to get companies to actually pay the taxes they should be. This goes for people well. Trickle down economics is BS, it didn’t work during Reagan, not during Bush, or Bush JR either. We need to stop believing this bullcrap. It’s just way for the right to make us put money re money in the top 2%’s hand’s and hope, yes I said HOPE it comes back to us in the middle and bottom. That is BS. Do what Europe does. Accept that you can’t trust pauses faire capitalism to honor the trust system. Look at the 2008 bands meltdown. They knew it would happen and ignored the people pointing at the flaw. And we the poor and middle class paid the fees because we had to. And those bastards gave themselves record bonuses with taxpayer money. Follow Europe. Socialism isn’t communism and it’s been working over there for half a century to r more. There no need to think we might turn into a communist state unless we keep letting the rich get richer. That’s when Cuba Russia vietnam etc actually revolted and flipped. Don’t kid yourselves either. Th bay if pigs failed because it wasn’t just Castro’s troop sthat met them landing on the beaches. The people, the poor didn’t want to exploiting capitalists to regain power. And they supported and even picked up arms to push them back. So many people have this distorted view that Castro wasn’t loved by the people. Even up to today they still him. An we get all bent out of sha e because they throes off the yoke of oppression. Anyway getting back to topic ...They would have been beaten out by the low cost of Chinese goods anyway. So we kept consumers happy by saving them money instead. And it was a smart idea. It would have way worse with higher prices for goods (also note that goods are consumed by businesses themselves). It’s the same idea at Bush Jr’s little tax gift given out in 2005(not sure of date)? If you’re blindly listening to people who say it damaged manufacturing I strongly urge you to do the research yourself. Yes it is a long an arduous task but that’s how you figure out what many in and the middle and on the left in politics have. The conservative right lies to you. As long they keep you voting them into office they truly don’t care about all the freedoms they claim to. They really don’t. They care about the bottom line. And the bottom line to them is money. That’s why the top 2%?now owns record amounts of the nations total money and land and influence. They convince you that the left is stealing all your money and freedoms. But the reality is they’re staring you in the face while saying this and their hands are reaching behind your back to pull out your wallet. If you don’t belive me look at the current president. He made a huge deal about money in n politics and then assembled the wealthiest “Goldman Sachs” cabinet ever put together (even more than Hillary and the Clintons...yep. Hypocrisy. The right wing is phenomenal at it.)

    Like (40)
    Follow
    Share
  • Michael
    10/15/2017
    ···

    Why keep the jobs of today instead of getting the jobs of tomorrow? The whole point of trade in terms of economics is that it increases output as countries can specialize and get better. NAFTA does just that and unfortunately some people lose jobs, but it also creates jobs as we have to meet export goals as well, which balances and leads to an increase in jobs. Opposing NAFTA may be good politics but it’s poor economics.

    Like (36)
    Follow
    Share
  • Blackhawk.U.S.Army.Vet
    10/15/2017
    ···

    NAFTA is what killed manufacturing jobs in America. Our treasonous politicians stated this would be great for America “Bush and Clinton”. The corporations sold the American people out because of greed and corruption with cheap labor. It’s funny how a CEO and the board directors can make millions of dollars annually and their workers are slaves making Chump change just to survive. Blow smoke up someone else’s ass. Make AMERICA first and get rid of NAFTA!

    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
  • Teresa
    10/15/2017
    ···

    That’s really ridiculous. When is congress actually going to impeach this man of mass destruction? How in the hell did we allow him into this position in the first place. Please I am asking you as members of the congress to reject this. Or we all as Americans will regret it.

    Like (27)
    Follow
    Share
  • Brandon
    10/15/2017
    ···

    We need to encourage updating NAFTA, but not leave it. We have to stay strong with our neighbors.

    Like (18)
    Follow
    Share
  • Kodiwodi
    10/15/2017
    ···

    America First, America First, America First. Canada and Mexico are two of the largest three trading partners we have. Their patience is wearing a tad thin with the US and they have begun their own negotiations with our third largest trading partner, China. Keep rattling that Saber trump and you may show up at that bargaining table alone.

    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
  • Anthony
    10/15/2017
    ···

    It’s very interesting that those against NAFTA keep pointing to corporations and CEOs who got rich off of it. Yet the President is doing a better job of representing those CEOs than he is representing the men and won who voted him in. Short sighted knee jerk decisions to discredit the past administrations Democrats and Republicans does not make jobs. A comprehensive plan with specific points and objectives will. So far I had hoped for more but as usual received less. Same old song different singer.

    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
  • Michael
    10/15/2017
    ···

    Do you have the courage to fix what’s broken with NAFTA, but keep what isn’t? Please use that courage.

    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
  • Erin
    10/15/2017
    ···

    As a constituent I urge you to support renegotiation of NAFTA. The flood of American jobs leaving the country so that wealthy corporations can make even more money needs to end. However, international trade deals are essential to the health of our economy. Please do what you can to keep the lobbyists on the sidelines this time.

    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
  • Bryan
    10/15/2017
    ···

    The businesses that are making money are the ones crying from the nafta deal possibly ending. They do not care about the towns and people that live in the towns that loose all the jobs that go over seas. End NAFTA, and make a better deal, that brings factories and jobs back to the small towns. One factory goes up that brings many jobs in the entire town, stores, sandwich shops, you name it, one factory can make an entire small town economically thrive. multiply that by many factories across america and we are on our way. let’s make America great again, bring our jobs back.

    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
  • J. scott
    10/15/2017
    ···

    This is Trumpster’ greatest failure as he invalidates our Treaties from NAFTA, NATO, the treaty with Iran, the Treaties we made with American Indians for their land and resources. Just do not invalidate NAFTA there already exists a process for making adjustments and discussing concerns; use it. The nations integrity and reputation for keeping our word are at risk and in serious peril with Trump at the helm.

    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
  • Sean
    10/15/2017
    ···

    This voter believes that NAFTA is better reformed than removed. This administration must stop destroying policies just to bolster support from the base.

    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
  • Leon
    10/15/2017
    ···

    When will Washington politicians admit trump is mentally unstable and unfit to be president.

    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
  • Eric
    10/15/2017
    ···

    The problem as I see it has more to do with corporate greed. Blaming solely our government for these issues is folly. And thinking that corporate greed will change with upending NAFTA is equally as folly. Taking steps to protect corporate greed at this point...well, you don't need some fancy college degree to figure out that is what Trump is doing and it won't actually help us regular earning hard working folks. Time to think forward not backward.

    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    10/15/2017
    ···

    Interesting. I can appreciate the recommendations to stay in NAFTA and update or adjust it. This sounds like the same good advice for the ACA Health Act, Social Security and The United States Constitution. All organizations, entities, treaties, programs, need to evolve to stay relevant with the current times. The religious entities are all evolving to stay relevant to their audience and try not to go extinct like the American Whig party or Neanderthals.

    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
  • Donald
    10/15/2017
    ···

    Trump is not interested in trade agreements... He has seldom honoured the agreements his corporations have legally signed... He’s a fake, a Shyster, a con man... Not surprising that he’s backing out of every deal that the US has agreed to...

    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
  • Osprey4356
    10/15/2017
    ···

    He won't care what anyone says. Despite the fact tens of thousands of small and large US businesses benefit from NAFTA he won't care. He won't care.

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • Stephanie
    10/15/2017
    ···

    Stop him now. I can’t even any longer. When is Congress going to do something? This man is clearly unfit for office.

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share