The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) hosted a policy panel in Washington Thursday directly addressing concerns that the Trump administration could withdraw or radically change the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during the current renegotiation process.
The briefing, “A World Without NAFTA: A Look at the Future through the Lens of the Motor Vehicle Industry,” was presented to a standing-room-only audience that included: members of the national and international media; associations and corporations within the automotive industry; members of Congress and congressional staff; and representatives from government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Transportation; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; and the Mexican and the Canadian Embassies.
The panel was moderated by MEMA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Ann Wilson, and included: Xavier Mosquet, Senior Partner and Managing Director of The Boston Consulting Group; Ian Musselman, Director of Government Affairs at Continental; and Charles Uthus, Vice President for International Policy at the American Automotive Policy Council. The event started with a presentation of a study commission by MEMA and conducted by The Boston Consulting Group, which indicates that proposed changes to NAFTA could cost as many as 50,000 U.S. jobs.
“These discussions move the needle,” said MEMA President and CEO Stave Handschuh. “When a well-respected and valued organization presents meaningful data, provides real-world examples, and expresses the genuine concerns and interests of our members to decisionmakers and influencers, it makes a difference. This is why our work here in Washington is so important to our association and its divisions.”
The event was part of MEMA’s multi-pronged, comprehensive effort to communicate the association’s positions on NAFTA renegotiations: NAFTA works, and while modernization is desirable, the U.S. should do no harm to this critical trade agreement.
Most recently MEMA took the lead in the national discussion on NAFTA and its rules of origin in a letter to the editor published in the Washington Post. MEMA has also engaged with the national media to ensure that the voice of the supplier community has been heard.
As part of this effort, MEMA recently released a one-page, graphical report on the economic impact of the motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry on the U.S. economy and the role NAFTA plays in U.S. employment. The mini report was sent to every member of Congress on Capitol Hill, as MEMA and its four specialized divisions work to strengthen America’s global manufacturing competitiveness, which would create more American jobs.
In comments submitted June 12 to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer, MEMA took a firm stance on behalf of its members arguing that great care be taken in renegotiating or modernizing NAFTA. Additionally, MEMA testified before USTR during a June 28 public hearing, released a critical study on the effects of NAFTA renegotiation, and held a standing-room-only policy panel discussion, “NAFTA and the Automotive Industry: What Will Keep America Competitive?,” in August.