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NMMA participates in NAFTA negotiations

The sixth round of North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations took place in late January, and the National Marine Manufacturers Association is working with members of Congress to address the issues that it says would affect the recreational boating industry.

Key areas of focus for the NMMA include securing changes to how the rules of origin are calculated for boat and engine packages, and securing new chapters on regulatory coherence, as well as reduced technical barriers to trade, which could include recognition of NMMA Certification throughout North America.

In the most recent round of negotiations in Montreal at the end of January, negotiators didn't make major breakthroughs on some of the most difficult issues, the NMMA said.

There were, however, creative attempts to breach major hurdles, the NMMA said.

Last week, 36 Senate Republicans called on President Trump to preserve NAFTA in a letter spearheaded by Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado.

The letter, which included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, said that Trump has the “opportunity to unleash the American economy like no president has done before.”

NAFTA has driven U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico to approximately $1.3 trillion annually, Gardner wrote. That has benefited several industries in the United States, as well as American consumers, the senators wrote in the letter Jan. 30.

“Canadians and Mexicans buy nearly $500 billion worth of U.S. manufactured goods each year, translating to $37,000 in export revenue for every American factory worker,” they wrote.

“NAFTA supports 14 million jobs, representing thousands of jobs in each of the 50 states,” the senators wrote.

“The next step to advance the economy requires that we keep NAFTA in place, but modernize it to better reflect our 21st century economy,” Gardner said.

Negotiators closed the anti-corruption chapter during round six, the NMMA said. The chapter was not previously included in NAFTA and will include a dispute resolution mechanism to ensure the chapter is enforceable.

Democratic lawmakers were in Montreal to increase pressure to create stronger labor measures. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he agreed the new NAFTA should have stronger labor protections than what was agreed to in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Other chapters discussed included rules of origin, dispute settlement, and services trade.

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