Following a summit of North America’s three leading plastics industry trade groups—PLASTICS Industry Association (PLASTICS), Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico A.C. (ANIPAC)—a platform of policy priorities was drafted for the forthcoming modernization of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
“Our three organizations stand unified in wanting to support the growth and development of our industry across North America,” said PLASTICS President and CEO William R. Carteaux. “Plastics are the proven sustainable material of choice for an infinite array of applications throughout North America, and the world at large. Strengthening NAFTA will enable us to work together to develop new solutions to our world’s environmental challenges while also benefiting the millions of workers in the three NAFTA member nations.”
CPIA President and CEO Carol Hochu, commenting on the joint effort, said, “North America became the world’s leading continental player when it comes to energy. Since plastics are so tightly entwined with our partners in the energy sector, it makes sense for North America to be the world leader in plastics and plastics manufacturing, as well. Focusing on the policy priorities we’ve outlined today will be a strong step in that direction. What helps us, helps benefit workers, families and the environment.”
Leaders from the three trade organizations agreed on several specific areas of focus for trade negotiations when they begin their work on NAFTA later this year:
- Continued support of the growth and development of the North American plastics industry. Since NAFTA took effect, its member nations’ plastics industries have grown immensely. Broadly, each organization supports efforts to promote this growth.
- Harmonization of regulations of all types as they affect the industry. For example, aligning regulations on food packaging would make it easier for smaller companies to expand their business across borders without having to worry about a new compliance burden. Another example would be a continent-wide harmonization of the treatment of plastics as sustainable materials, for the purposes of government procurement and other areas. Adjusting NAFTA to facilitate enhanced sustainability efforts throughout the industry in North America is a key goal for all three nations.
- A review of the rules of origin, which affect everything from raw plastic materials to finished products containing plastic.
- Simplification and modernization of trade and customs documentation.
- Ease of employee access throughout the continent.
- No new tariffs.
- Continued labor cost flexibility between the three nations to allow each of them to be competitive globally and to play to their strengths.
“The growth in the North American plastics market since NAFTA first took effect 25 years ago is undeniably impressive, but so much has changed since then,” said ANIPAC President Juan Antonio Hernandez. “With the modernization, we now have an opportunity to take things into overdrive, advancing innovation while growing all three of our economies and building a stronger trade relationship that will benefit the whole world.”