U.S. ties with Mexico and Canada touch the daily lives of more Americans than ties with any other two countries in the world. Trade, border connections, tourism, family ties and mutual security concerns link us closely, but we are endangering those links and our wellbeing by a contentious modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Now is the time to forge as much agreement as possible before elections in Mexico (July presidential and congressional elections) and the U.S. (November congressional elections) close the political space for agreement.

The best outcome would be to conclude an agreement, but given the amount of work left to do, that may not be possible. If the three countries are able to agree conceptually on big-ticket items, however, that would add momentum, allow technical modernization talks to continue and reduce uncertainty for our economy.

The continuing discussions on the difficult issue of “rules of origin” for automobiles at the eighth negotiating round in April are very important. We need a full court press for progress. This will not be easy, but pulling out of NAFTA or leaving it weakened would badly harm U.S. businesses, farmers and workers and set the stage for a contentious relationship with Mexico’s new government. 

Read the full article on The Hill...