In comments submitted June 12 to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer, the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) took a firm stance on behalf of its members arguing that great care be taken in renegotiating or modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The detailed comments, which were in response to the USTR’s request for comment on NAFTA, outlined a number of important positions, including:
- Motor vehicles suppliers are part of a global industry and are dependent on a world-wide network of suppliers and customers for continued viability and growth.
- NAFTA enabled “nearshoring” of an interconnected supply chain between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that has provided the opportunity for U.S. manufacturers to compete with the rest of the world.
- NAFTA fostered a 19 percent increase in motor vehicle parts manufacturing jobs in the U.S. over the last five years.
- Free and fair trade is imperative for a strong domestic supplier industry.
“MEMA members operate in a global industry with suppliers, customers, and facilities worldwide,” said MEMA President and CEO Steve Handschuh in the statement. “Open markets and integrated supply chains provide the framework for economic growth and jobs in our industry. NAFTA has served our industry, the American worker, and the U.S. economy well.”
While MEMA supports NAFTA, the motor vehicle parts supplier industry also recognizes that some components of the 23-year-old agreement can be modernized, Handschuh said, such as: encouraging more cooperation between the participating countries and the industry to improve international trade; creating forums for investor-state disputes; enforcing intellectual property rights; and promoting a harmonized regulatory system.
In January, MEMA released an economic impact study that defines the critical role that motor vehicle parts suppliers play in the U.S. economy. The stability and integration of the North American supply chain has been particularly beneficial to suppliers, contributing to growth in jobs and investments in the United States. MEMA adamantly supports reasonable tax and trade policies that will allow this trend to continue.
MEMA and its four specialized divisions comprise a leading international trade association in the fast-changing mobility industry. MEMA’s members are represented through four divisions: Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA), Motor & Equipment Remanufacturers Association (MERA), and Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA).