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Policy and Legal

NAM Pushes for a Robust U.S. Trade Agenda

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The negotiation and implementation of robust, new trade agreements are an essential part of a manufacturing competitiveness agenda. As we head into a new year, the NAM is pressing for the kind of strong rules and partnerships the industry needs.

Forging new trade agreements: The NAM is urging policymakers to negotiate a series of substantial new trade pacts that strengthen trade ties with U.S. allies and other trading partners and expand on open trade in general. Important initiatives include:

  • Negotiating regional accords, including the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity, which support manufacturing jobs in the U.S. by including key provisions that open markets, strengthen U.S. innovation and technology leadership, raise global standards and establish best-in-class trade rules; and
  • Reengaging in trade agreement talks with the United Kingdom and Kenya and exploring trade agreements with additional markets in Latin America, Africa and beyond.

Enforcing existing pacts: The NAM is also pressing for the comprehensive enforcement of existing U.S. trade agreements—including the full implementation of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement and the U.S.–China “Phase One” Trade Agreement. As a strong supporter and advocate for the USMCA, the NAM is advocating the reversal of Mexican and Canadian policies that are against the letter and spirit of the agreement.

  • In June, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons laid out a series of challenges that manufacturers in the U.S. are facing in Mexico, telling the Biden administration: “Failure to prioritize enforcement of these commercial challenges will undermine the long-term credibility of the USMCA.”

Implementing a comprehensive China trade strategy: The NAM has long advocated for a comprehensive strategy for the U.S. trade relationship with China. While the U.S. and China have moved forward with important conversations, the  Biden administration should implement a clear China trade and economic strategy that can strengthen our ability to compete economically with and in China, as well as hold China accountable for its behaviors.

  • “The U.S. must develop, and strategically use, a full playbook of legislative and enforcement tools to pressure China to stop its discriminatory economic policies and level the playing field for manufacturers and workers in the U.S.,” NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Ken Monahan told the Office of the United States Trade Representative in September.
  • Monahan also urged the immediate launch of a “comprehensive, transparent and robust Section 301 tariff exclusion process with meaningful retroactivity” to ensure that such measures aren’t undermining efforts to strengthen manufacturing in the U.S.

Next steps: “Manufacturers need open global markets to ensure that we benefit from the same principles that we seek here at home: nondiscrimination, fairness, equal opportunity and competition,” said Monahan. “As we look to 2023 and beyond, the forging of ambitious new U.S. trade agreements, robust enforcement of our existing accords and the implementation of a comprehensive U.S. trade strategy toward China will be vital as we advance that agenda.”

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