The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce convened a meeting of interested parties this week to discuss submitting comments to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) regarding the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). San Antonio has a rich history with NAFTA, beginning with the signing of the agreement by the Bush Administration in downtown San Antonio in 1992. The impact of NAFTA is beyond ceremony, and affects companies in the area, specifically members of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
On May 18, the Trump Administration began the process of renegotiating NAFTA by sending official notice of intent to Congress and starting a 90-day countdown clock. During this time, Congress begins preparing recommendations that will be negotiated with Canada and Mexico. This renegotiation process can take months or years, with agreed-upon terms requiring approval by both chambers of Congress by a clean up or down vote without amendments. Canada and Mexico run processes during this time as well. If negotiations were to fail, countries can withdraw from NAFTA with a simple six-month notice.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) requested public comments on the agreement by Monday, June 12, 2017, and will be holding a subsequent public hearing on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. There are several categories open for comment, including digital trade, intellectual property rights, regulatory practices, services, labor, environment, and small and medium-sized enterprises (full list can be found here).
The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce intends to provide written comments on behalf of our membership. If your company or industry is interested in participating in the comments or in future discussions, we welcome your input. Please contact Belinda Garza Hartwig, VP of Economic Development at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 210-229-2199 for more information.