Meeting in Mexico City on October 20, leaders of the chemistry industry associations in Mexico, the United States and Canada expressed concern with the status and outlook for negotiations underway to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Hosted by the Asociación Nacional de la Industria Química (ANIQ), Cal Dooley, President and CEO American Chemistry Council (ACC), Miguel Benedetto, Director General ANIQ, and Bob Masterson, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) President and CEO were joined by Larry Rubin, President of the American Community in Mexico, on a panel session organized by ANIQ as part of its Chemistry Industry National Forum XLIX.
All panelists highlighted the importance of free and fair trade to the industry and noted the significant increases in chemistry trade across the three countries since the introduction of NAFTA twenty-three years ago. Participants also highlighted the positive, consensus contributions made by all three industry associations towards improvements in a modernized NAFTA in areas of chemistry rules of origin, movement of professionals, digital commerce, and regulatory cooperation.
Despite the positive contributions, all participants expressed concern about the status of negotiations and could offer little certainty or clarification with respect to the pathway to successful negotiating outcomes.
“For CIAC, and more broadly the chemistry sector in North America, we view these negotiations as an opportunity to extend the progress that has been made over the past twenty-three years,” Masterson said. “Unfortunately, however, the current status is highly uncertain and there does not appear to be a Plan B in place. Each country shares responsibilities in terms of tabling positions they know full well are non-starters for their counterparts,” Masterson added.