Windsor-Essex organizations collaborate ahead of NAFTA renegotiation

Friday, July 21, 2017

CTV News


A number of organizations in Windsor-Essex are working together in preparation for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce, Workforce Windsor-Essex, the Cross Border Institute, and the Institute for Border Logistics and Security, along with provincial and federal partners all met this week to discuss NAFTA.

In a joint news release, the organizations say Windsor-Essex provides a unique perspective on the impact of NAFTA and they are committed to promote economic prosperity across all municipalities in the region.

“Windsor-Essex is at the front line of NAFTA and this coordinated approach is designed to help keep local businesses informed about the current NAFTA, and the potential impacts of the renegotiations” says Stephen MacKenzie, the CEO of the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation.

“We will monitor this process and work with our clients and communities to make sure their needs are represented.”

“This collaborative working group will identify key issues that can be fed into the NAFTA negotiation process through our local MP’s and networks to help maximize our voice and will allow us to position our region for the future” says Matt Marchand, the CEO of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The collective efforts will include: a coordinated survey seeking local input, workshops and information sessions, and submissions to governments highlighting the importance of preserving and strengthening a fair and free trade across North America.

“We look forward to working with our partners to survey businesses and cross-border commuters about what’s working and what could be improved in the renegotiation of NAFTA” says Michelle Suchiu, the executive director of Workforce WindsorEssex.

“Our region has an important story to share about our region’s unique and highly-integrated cross border relationship with the United States and Mexico.”

"Cross-border supply chains are key for the integration of the local Canada-US economy. Fluidity is critical to maintain our high level of economic integration and prosperity that trade makes possible.  Any changes to NAFTA must reduce the cost and impediments to trade" says Dr. Bill Anderson, the director of the Cross-Border Institute at the University of Windsor.

Negotiations between Canada, the US and Mexico are expected to begin sometime in mid-August.