Donald Trump's pledge to renegotiate NAFTA could make Arizona a winner, or a loser

Posted at 8:38 PM, Jan 23, 2017

President Trump is expected to sign an executive order on a plan to renegotiate NAFTA with Mexico and Canada.

The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA for short, was signed in 1994 by then-President Bill Clinton.

The agreement essentially allows trade with relative ease between the United States and its closest neighbors: Canada and Mexico.

The president made it a campaign promise to revisit the deal, which he has called “one the worst things to ever happen to the manufacturing industry.”

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"The continuation of trade with Mexico and Canada is vitally important for the health of Arizona's economy period, end of story,” said Glenn Hamer, the President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.

Hamer says NAFTA has been a huge player for Arizona’s economy since it was approved 23 years ago.

Recently, he says the agreement was crucial for Arizona in securing the $700 million dollar Lucid Motors plant. Plans for the company were unveiled in November 2016 and are expected to bring 2,000 jobs to Arizona by 2022.

"Here our team has access to excellent work for us, forward thinking institutions and a strong regional supply chain which certainly includes a state of Sonora Mexico,” said Brian Barron, Lucid Motors Director of Global Manufacturing.

The Mexican state of Sonora, just across the Arizona border, has a huge auto parts and manufacturing industry.

Arizona’s proximity to that manufacturing is one of the other big reasons our state was chosen.

Hamer says NAFTA benefits Arizona in many other ways, including agriculture, mining and tourism.

"Our friends from Mexico, each and every day, contribute about $7 million visiting our restaurants, going to our sports games, staying in our hotels,” said Hamer.

In all, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce says 100,000 Arizona jobs are directly connected to trade with Mexico.

Hamer says NAFTA could be updated by addressing e-commerce, which is an area that was not nearly as important when it was first drafted.

Small business could benefit from a NAFTA overhaul by streamlining the customs process to make it even easier to conduct business across borders.

The President’s meetings regarding NAFTA being next week when he meets with the leaders of Canada and Mexico.