NAFTA 2.0 is a big opportunity for San Diego and the entire U.S.-Mexico border region. With a good “modernization” of the 1993 treaty, the U.S.-Mexico border can expand economic growth and continue to be one of the most dynamic regions in North America. Elected officials and business groups from the border region should organize to weigh in regularly with the government negotiating teams and elected representatives in the months ahead to assure a good outcome.

Voices from the border cities and states must be well organized to have their voices heard in Washington and in Mexico City. Happily, San Diego and Tijuana are hosting mayors from throughout the region for the Border Mayors Association Binational Summit this week. This is an important opportunity for mayors to pursue a shared agenda.

Negotiators from the U.S., Mexico and Canada begin an intense effort to modernize the NAFTA agreement in mid-August. A number have the ambitious goal of reaching agreement by early 2018, before Mexico’s presidential campaign makes it too complicated politically to forge an agreement. Given the breadth and complexity of the U.S. objectives announced last week, however, agreement by early 2018 will be a large order. Many of the goals involve applying best practices and standards, but others, such as weakening protections against U.S. trade enforcement actions against Mexico and Canada or reducing U.S. trade deficits, will be contentious.

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