September 10, 2018

MSCI To Trump Trudeau: Keep NAFTA Negotiations Open Until There’s A Deal

As Connecting the Dots reported last week, the U.S. and Mexican governments settled on the outlines of a bilateral trade agreement and, on Aug. 31, President Donald Trump formally notified Congress that he intends to sign a deal with Mexico in 90 days.

Canadian negotiators, of course, weren’t part of the talks leading up to that pact, but were in Washington, D.C. last week to try to reach a deal with their U.S. counterparts. (President Trump’s letter said Canada could be included in the agreement he’ll sign in 90 days if this week’s discussions bear fruit.) Canadian Foreign Minister Chyrstia Freeland reported last Friday that those talks are going well and likely will continue this week.

The Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) also is hopeful that the two countries can come together and last week MSCI President and CEO Bob Weidner, Chair Holman Head, and Vice Chair Bill Chisholm sent a letter to President Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking them to keep the lines of communication open until an agreement is reached. The letter also asked for additional measures to address circumvention and reiterated MSCI’s previous calls that the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs and resulting retaliatory penalties be immediately removed for North American trading partners. (CANACERO, the Mexican steel industry organization, and Canadian Steel Producers Association made the same call in a joint statement issued last week.)

The North American Free Trade Agreement has positively impacted the metals sectors in Canada, Mexico, and the United States and MSCI hopes leaders in Washington and Ottawa can preserve this $1 trillion annual trading relationship. MSCI members should not hesitate to reach out to Ann D’Orazio (847-485-3019, or with questions or concerns.

MSCI also encourages its members to discuss their opinions about the issue with lawmakers. The Canadian government continues to operate a webpage for stakeholders to submit their views on NAFTA. MSCI members in the United States who are interested in weighing in on NAFTA deliberations should contact their representatives in the U.S. House and Senate to let them know how altering or eliminating NAFTA would affect their businesses, employees, and customers. Click here for contact information for every member of the House and here for senators.

MSCI’s comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative regarding NAFTA reauthorization are here. Also of interest: the Congressional Research Service released an overview of NAFTA modernization discussions at the end of July. The report includes a review of all of the issues being discussed.