Original Press Release
U.S., Canadian Manufacturers Groups Say Business Survey Confirms Success Of NAFTA
Press release date: April 18, 2008
Only 10 Percent See Negative Impact
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 18, 2008 - In anticipation of a meeting of the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States in New Orleans on Monday, the president of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Jayson Myers, and National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler issued a ringing endorsement of the North American Free Trade Agreement and called on the political leadership to address common priorities for strengthening North American competitiveness.
A majority of manufacturers across North America say that NAFTA has helped them become more competitive and to expand their business in domestic and international markets, according to a study that will be released next month by the NAM's Manufacturing Institute and CME.
The survey, conducted jointly by consulting firm Deloitte, NAM, the Manufacturing Institute, and CME, shows that 49 percent of manufacturers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico have found that the NAFTA agreement, signed 15 years ago, has enabled them to grow their business both within and outside North America. Another 41 percent of manufacturers report that NAFTA has had a neutral or slightly positive effect on their business. Only 10 percent of companies say that NAFTA has had a negative impact on business activity.
"NAFTA has opened many doors of opportunity for companies across North America," says Jayson Myers, president of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME). "We need to build on that to equip our companies with the right tools to be globally competitive."
"North American manufacturers have largely seen NAFTA as an opportunity to improve their competitiveness," says Emily DeRocco, President for the Manufacturing Institute. "They have developed global capabilities on the basis of an integrated North American market."
"This is no time for complacency however," warns John Engler, President and CEO of NAM. "North American manufacturers must now meet the challenges of global competition."
According to the survey, 60 percent of manufacturers see an erosion of North America's competitive advantage when compared to other regions of the world. Respondents identified labor conditions, skills shortages, costly and complex regulatory compliance, unfavorable tax treatment of investment, unreliable access to cost competitive energy, more complex and costly border crossings, and an outmoded logistics infrastructure as impediments to global competitiveness.
"To compete and win in today's global economy, companies need a 21st century policy environment," Engler and Myers agreed. "This is the time for North American leaders, who meet next week in New Orleans, to address the common competitiveness concerns of North American business."
"A good start will be to implement the recommendations of the North American Competitiveness Council. Specifically, our governments need to take action to reduce needless regulator differences across North America, streamline low-risk cross-border traffic, and adopt a common approach to product and food safety regulation and intellectual property protection.
"We also need a longer-term strategy that commits governments and industry to work together to improve technical skills and education, encourage investment and innovation, and strengthen our energy and logistics infrastructure for the benefit of manufacturers, communities, and citizens across North America," they said.
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is Canada's leading trade and industry association and the voice of manufacturing and global business in Canada. The association directly represents more than 10,000 leading companies nationwide. More than 85% of CME's members are small and medium-sized enterprises. CME's membership network accounts for an estimated 82% of total manufacturing production and 90% of Canada's exports.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation's largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 11 additional offices across the country. Visit the NAM's award-winning web site at www.nam.org for more information about manufacturing and the economy.
CONTACT: HANK COX (202) 637-3090