The NAFTA Free Trade Commission (“the Commission”) met in Washington, D.C. on April 3, 2012. In a joint statement released following the meeting, the Commission reiterated its commitment to “expand trade and investment, reduce administrative costs, and thereby further strengthen North American competitiveness.” Trade among the NAFTA countries has more than tripled since 1993, rising to $1 trillion in 2011.
The joint statement highlights several initiatives related to North American trade. The Commission acknowledges the North American Steel Trade Committee for its role in “drawing attention to issues of importance to the manufacturing sector and promoting cooperation between North American industry and governments in areas of mutual interest.” The Commission also notes that NAFTA’s Working Group on Rules of Origin has completed the fourth revision of the NAFTA rules of origin, and that all three countries will work to implement the changes quickly. The Commission commits to enhancing trade in chemicals, in part by asking NAFTA working groups to address challenges pertaining to rules of origin, customs procedures, and classification. The joint statement highlights the new publication “The NAFTA Certificate of Origin: Frequently Asked Questions,” which is available online as part of the Commission’s goal to help small and medium-sized enterprises more easily access information. The joint statement also addresses the Trans-Pacific Partnership, stating that “[t]he United States welcomes Canada’s and Mexico’s interest in joining TPP as ambitious partners.”