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Chamber Reaffirms Support for NAFTA in Joint Declaration with Canada, Mexico and U.S. Chambers of Commerce

This week, the Detroit Regional Chamber joined leaders of 25 metropolitan chambers of commerce from Canada, the United States and Mexico in Montreal ahead of the sixth round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations. Participants discussed economic issues surrounding the renewal of NAFTA and the risks for businesses if it is not renewed.

To send a clear message to the three governments on the importance of an updated agreement and maintaining open access to the North American market, the chambers signed a joint declaration affirming the importance of NAFTA to the region’s economy. Collectively, these chambers represent an economic impact with a combined GDP of nearly $3.5 trillion.

The NAFTA renewal remains a priority for the Chamber, and Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah is often sought after for his expertise and insight at discussions in Michigan and Canada based on his current role at the Chamber and his past work in Washington, D.C. The declaration was signed on behalf of the Detroit region’s business community by Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Chamber. Read the declaration below:


We, the undersigned representatives of Metropolitan Cities Chambers of Commerce, agree to the following key facts regarding the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA):

Whereas: NAFTA has created major economic ties between Canada, the United States and Mexico, helping to quadruple trade between our three nations since its inception, now reaching $1.5 trillion USD annually.

Whereas: NAFTA has stimulated cross-border investments in the region. Canadian foreign direct investments in the US have risen from less than $40 billion USD to nearly $400 billion USD, and Mexican Foreign direct investment holdings in the United States have also increased by a factor of ten over the same period.

Whereas: 14 million jobs in the United States, 2 million jobs in Canada, and 3 million jobs in Mexico are dependent on trade between the three NAFTA member countries. Of the 14 million American jobs, 5 million are directly related to the growth of NAFTA.

Whereas: Value chains have become integrated through NAFTA, and many products cross our borders multiple times while becoming a finished product. For example, 40% of the content of all US imports from Mexico is produced in the United States. This integration severely increases the cost of breaking a free-trade zone in North America, both at the national and firm level.

Whereas: NAFTA has provided consumers in our metropolitan areas and across our three nations with access to more abundant and affordable products and services, including both high-quality manufactured goods and a wide variety of agricultural products throughout the year.

Whereas: Many of the companies that we represent would be adversely affected by a non-renewal of NAFTA, or a substantial departure from NAFTA’s core principles.

Thus, on the eve of the 6th round of negotiations for the renewal of NAFTA, we the undersigned:

  • Share a common desire to maintain free trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada.
  • Urge our respective governments to come to an agreement to an updated NAFTA, and to maintain it for the future economic success of all three nations.
  • Will maintain our mobilization in favor of an updated NAFTA, leading to a future trade agreement.

Therefore, we jointly sign this Declaration, Montreal, January 22nd, 2018.

The leaders of the following chambers and boards of trade attended the meeting in Montreal: Albany, Boston, Brampton, Calgary, Chihuahua, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Halifax, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Mérida, Mexico City, Minneapolis, Monterrey, Montreal, Querétaro, San Antonio, St. Louis, Tijuana, Toronto, Vancouver, Veracruz and Winnipeg.