Last week, EDA’s VP of Government Relations, Natalie Higgins, attended the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) Annual Summit in Portland, Oregon. The Summit was attended by state and provincial leaders from across the United States and Canada including Elizabeth Moore Aubin, Charge d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy, Ambassador David MacNaughton, Ambassador of Canada to the United States and the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food for the Government of Canada. The conference facilitates conversations between lawmakers, private sector and non-profit participants on important issues such as Border and Trade, Agriculture, Energy, Workforce Development and Disaster Resilience. “As you can imagine, much of the discussion at this year’s conference focused on the upcoming re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade (NAFTA) agreement. PNWER has released ten (10) core objectives with respect to the NAFTA re-negotiations, all of which EDA is supportive of.” said Higgins.
Among others, PNWER’s NAFTA re-negotiation objectives include:
- modernizing the agreement to incorporate successful aspects of other, more recent trade deals;
- modernizing the process for cross-border customs including simple clearance, declaration and origin rules;
- integrating North American energy markets and infrastructure;
- increasing protections for intellectual property;
- encouraging the permanent adoption and expansion of the Regulatory Cooperation Council to align product standards, testing and certification; and
- updating labor categories to reflect modern classifications and expand common standards for professions and mutual recognition of skills credentials.
Higgins also noted, “Overall, the tone of the conference was optimistic with respect to NAFTA. It seemed apparent that the lawmakers understand the value of modernizing the agreement to address new issues in IP and labor that, frankly, weren’t an issue at the agreement’s inception. EDA members and the equipment industry, generally, will be watching negotiations closely and hope to see these issues resolved.” EDA will continue to advocate on behalf of dealers and the equipment industry as trade negotiations unfold. For more information, contact Natalie Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org.