North American boating industry: Bilateral NAFTA deal is a half measure
In response to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer’s notification that the Trump Administration plans to proceed on revising the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) without Canada, Thom Dammrich, President of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), and Sara Anghel, President of NMMA Canada, spoke out in opposition to the scheme.
“The announcement is a mixed blessing,” said 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 our industry’s largest export market, Canada must be included before this deal is finalized and sent to Congress for approval. As such, we urge the 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,” Dammrich added. “That means promoting free and fair trade between all three countries so that American-made industries, like marine manufacturing, can flourish.
“We urge the administration to bring Canada back into the fold,” Dammrich concluded, “and swiftly finalize trilateral NAFTA renegotiations. Proud domestic industries like the recreational boating industry—and the 650,000 American jobs we support—are counting on it.”
The “announcement is a major setback for the $10 billion-Canadian recreational boating industry, which employs 75,000 Canadians,” said Anghel. “As long-standing trade partners, free and fair trade between our countries is imperative to the strength of our respective economies. In the absence of NAFTA, businesses and workers on both sides of the border will suffer.
NMMA Canada was “hopeful that continued negotiations would finally result in a better deal for Canadians, Americans, and Mexicans alike,” Anghel added. “Unfortunately, this was not the case. Negotiators must stay at the table until all parties are satisfied—ideally, in short order.”
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