Canadian manufacturers outline NAFTA recommendations

Toronto, August 14, 2017

Members of Canadian Manufacturing Coalition (CMC), chaired by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) have agreed on specific priorities for the upcoming NAFTA renegotiation process and they have expressed a common desire for strengthening and modernizing the agreement. Collectively the associations represent much of Canada’s manufacturing sector which directly accounts for 11 per cent of the country’s GDP, two-thirds of all Canadian exports and 1.7 million employees.

NAFTA has allowed the integration and sophistication of manufacturers’ supply chains across North America and created an unmatched incentive for innovation and growth. Manufacturers across borders work together and integrate operations to the point where they no longer simply trade with one another, but rather, they innovate together, build goods together, and compete with the world together.

“Canada’s experience with NAFTA demonstrates that free trade in North America places Canadian manufacturers, their workers and their communities at the heart of the economy’s growth,” said Dennis Darby, President and CEO of CME and Chair of CMC. “NAFTA has provided the definition of free trade in North America for the last 25 years. Manufacturers are enthusiastic about the chance to re-shape free trade in North America in a way that recognizes major advances in manufacturing while creating the conditions for decades of future growth.”

Collective recommendations are as follows:

  1. Eliminate barriers to trade within NAFTA
  2. NAFTA’s overwhelming success in boosting trade between the three countries has created many operational barriers to manufacturers operating across the region.
  3. Renegotiation provides the opportunity to eliminate existing barriers to trade to improve operational efficiencies and decrease the cost of doing business, including modernizing customs processes, strengthening regulatory cooperation, smoothing the flow of business professionals, and enhancing dispute resolution. Modernize and expand NAFTA
  4. NAFTA’s scope originally was seen as one of the broadest and most extensive FTA’s ever signed, unfortunately that benchmark was surpassed by many trade deals over the past 25 years, including some that all three of the parties helped create. Newer agreements can provide a framework for enhancing NAFTA to cover more sectors and products and eliminate barriers to trade and investment, including those in services, digital trade, and government procurement.
  5. Leverage NAFTA to boost exports to third countries

Unlike Canada’s other trade agreements, NAFTA is a manufacturing platform that allows companies to build products across the region in a globally competitive manner, and it can be leveraged to drive collective exports when trade is conducted fairly. Achieving this outcome requires a coordinated approach to dealing with mutual common concerns regarding unfair trading practices from outside the region that limit exports and boost imports, including regulatory practices, currency manipulation and trade subsidies.

While CME and many members of CMC have provided the government detailed recommendations specific to their sector, manufacturers agree on the strategic outcome Canada should be aiming to achieve from the NAFTA negotiations, said Dennis Darby, President and CEO of CME and Chair of CMC. “We need a trade agreement that will to advance manufacturing and trade in North America. Modernizing NAFTA could be the catalyst this region needs to come together and compete with the world.”


Since 1871, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters has been helping manufacturers grow at home and, compete around the world. Our focus is to ensure manufacturers are recognized as engines for growth in the economy, with Canada acknowledged as both a global leader and innovator in advanced manufacturing and a global leader in exporting. CME is a member-driven association that directly represents more than 2,500 leading companies who account for an estimated 82 per cent of manufacturing output and 90 per cent of Canada’s exports.


Stefi Proulx

Director of Communications & Branding

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

(613) 292-6070