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June 19, 2017

MSCI Tells The White House It Should Upgrade NAFTA While Taking Care Not To Endanger U.S., Canada And Mexico Trading Relationship

The Trump administration will soon begin renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). MSCI supports NAFTA and in written testimony to the Trump Administration, asked negotiators to upgrade the pact while taking care not to endanger the valuable trading relationship between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The comments, which outline ways to improve NAFTA, are available here. In a statement, MSCI President and CEO M. Robert Weidner, III noted that “trade with Canada and Mexico is not why U.S. steel and aluminum shipments have not recovered to their pre-Great Recession peak. The blame for that lies with global state-subsidized overcapacity and other unfair trade practices by bad actors like China.”

The NAFTA comments mirror MSCI’s strong defense of its NAFTA trading partners in comments submitted to the U.S. Commerce Department last month, which requested that metal imports from Canada and Mexico be excluded from any trade penalties resulting from the department’s 232 investigation.

MSCI’s testimony also outlined several ways to modernize and improve NAFTA, including:

  • Ensuring stronger and more transparent rules that continue to level the North American trade playing field;
  • Easing border crossing regulations, wait times, and other restrictions;
  • Harnessing the digital revolution to allow for faster, easier, less burdensome and safer cross-border commerce;
  • Creating even stronger, more efficient dispute settlement procedures; and
  • Renewing the commitment to work collaboratively, while strengthening the rules and mechanisms to hold accountable bad actors that seek to circumvent trade laws.

More than 1,200 organizations and individuals submitted comments to the USTR on this matter. Comments are available to the public on Regulations.gov. American Metal Market (subscription required) discussed MSCI’s comments in a story on NAFTA renegotiation.

The USTR will hold a public hearing on NAFTA renegotiation on June 27. The Trump administration must release negotiating NAFTA objectives on the USTR’s website by July 17. On August 16, the administration can begin new negotiations with the governments of Canada and Mexico.