North American Free Trade Agreement as a bargaining chip

President Trump has formally offered to exclude the neighboring countries from the planned tariffs on steel and aluminum if they can agree on a deal on a new North American Free Trade Agreement.

By ·

Speculation that President Trump is using his threatened steel tariffs as a ploy to renegotiate NAFTA may not play well with shippers associations.

The first indication of that was a statement made by The Washington Council on International Trade, which stated this week that it strongly disagrees with the Administration’s tariff announcement on steel and aluminum.

“Tariffs will negatively impact Washington state companies and consumers alike by driving up prices of goods and inviting retaliation against Washington state exports and investment,” says Lori Otto Punke, President of WCIT. “Forty percent of jobs in Washington are trade-related.”

According The U.S. Department of Commerce, Trump has formally offered to exclude the neighboring countries from the president’s planned tariffs on steel and aluminum if they can agree on a deal on a new North American Free Trade Agreement. 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced at a press conference that the administration is examining the impact of imposing the tariffs on a “case-by-case” basis.

The Foreign Trade Zone community is clearly integrated into – and depends – on global supply and value chains.

“As such, we would fully agree with the message in support of NAFTA expressed by the associations representing the North American freight-rail industry,” notes  Erik Autor, president of the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones (NAFTZ).

In an interview with LM, he shared the following from their submission to USTR on NAFTA:

NAFTZ and its members have been strong supporters of the NAFTA and believe it has been an important factor in making U.S. manufacturing more globally competitive, supporting high-value-added employment in the United States, expanding export markets for U.S. products and services, promoting efficient supply and value chains, and improving standards of living. However, we recognize that an agreement negotiated over 25 years ago needs updating to give American companies and workers new opportunities for growth and prosperity and to reflect commerce and the economy of the 21st Century. NAFTZ strongly supports NAFTA renegotiation aimed at achieving these goals and positioning the FTZ program to do much more to promote American competitiveness in the NAFTA region.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [ protected]

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