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10/1/2018   - U.S. Canada - NAFTA


The North Country Chamber of Commerce is welcoming a long sought agreement between the U.S. and Canada, maintaining the tripartite NAFTA partnership while setting new terms and renaming the three nation agreement USMCA.

"There is no greater driving force in the North Country economy than our economic partnership with Canada," states Garry Douglas, President. "Having agreed terms and general certainty about cross border commerce and investment is the basis of our greatest economic progress in recent years and our greatest opportunities for the future. This outcome is therefore terrific news for both countries but especially crucial to our unique bi-national region."

"Among other provisions, it creates an effective protection against potential auto tariffs by the U.S. which could have been very problematic for our transportation equipment companies, preserves the existing dispute resolution process which has worked, and significantly increases U.S. access to the Canadian dairy market," reports Douglas. "Our one wish is that it would have also resolved the current steel and aluminum tariffs but indications are that those are being addressed through separate discussions."

The North Country Chamber plays a leading role in Quebec-U.S. relations and the attraction of foreign investment from Canada and elsewhere to the North Country, based strongly on the existence of high quality cross border supply chains. As the NAFTA negotiations have slowly proceeded, the Chamber has been actively engaged with partners on both sides of the border in promoting the importance of the U.S.-Canada economic partnership and supporting a positive outcome.

"Among other outcomes, we believe this will help to unfreeze the interest of Canadian companies in the U.S. market, including consideration of investments here," notes Douglas. "The uncertainty of the NAFTA negotiations has had this dynamic on pause. We now need to resolve the remaining tariffs and get things active again. And we need to secure approval by Congress, hopefully in December."  

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