October 10, 2017


Donohue: “We stand firmly on the side of a modern NAFTA that meets the needs of our 21st century economy”

WASHINGTON, D.C.— In a letter sent to the president today, more than 300 state and local chambers of commerce representing businesses from all 50 states expressed their support for a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), urging the Trump administration to “do no harm” as negotiations continue.

The letter was sent ahead of a speech by U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue to a gathering of business leaders in Mexico City. One day before the opening of the fourth round of NAFTA negotiations, Donohue shared the U.S. business community’s perspective on the talks, issuing a stark warning about several “unnecessary and unacceptable” proposals and cautioning that support for the renegotiation process could be compromised if they move forward.

“We’ve reached a critical moment, and the Chamber has had no choice but to ring the alarm bells,” said Donohue. “Let me be forceful and direct. There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal.

“The U.S. business community will stand up for an important agreement that makes North America stronger and more prosperous,” he said.

Donohue also used the speech to assure Mexican business leaders of the U.S. private sector’s commitment to the economic partnership between the two countries.

“No matter what happens, the U.S. business community isn’t going anywhere,” he said. “The U.S.-Mexican commercial relationship is far too valuable to American businesses, workers, and economic growth for us to retreat or turn inward.”

In addition, Donohue outlined a shared agenda with the Mexican business community that will be advanced during tomorrow’s 9th U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue, which seeks to enhance commercial ties and deepen bilateral cooperation.

Donohue’s full remarks as prepared are available online here.

Taken together, Donohue’s message and the message conveyed in the letter demonstrate a U.S. business community united in support of a constructive renegotiation process and a modernized NAFTA – and against continued threats of withdrawal from the agreement.

The letter to the president, signed by 314 state and local chambers of commerce from across the nation, reiterated the business community’s strong support for NAFTA and the millions of American jobs it supports.

“Business leaders across the country know first-hand that trade with Canada and Mexico has created American jobs, boosted economic growth, and strengthened local economies,” the letter reads. “But we know we can do even more to seize the benefits of trade with our North American neighbors.”

The letter concludes: “To help facilitate that growth, we urge you to support America’s workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses of all sizes by protecting and preserving the deep economic ties and benefits the United States continues to enjoy under NAFTA.”

Members of the U.S. Congress also received copies of the letter, which is available online here.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. Its International Affairs division includes more than 70 regional and policy experts and 25 country- and region-specific business councils and initiatives. The U.S. Chamber also works closely with 117 American Chambers of Commerce abroad.