Canadian Plastics
News

North American plastics groups outline goals for NAFTA modernization

After a summit in held Mexico City on July 5, the heads of the U.S.-based Plastics Industry Association, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, and Mexico’s Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico AC released a joint statement opposing new tariffs and supporting greater harmonization of regulations.


Print this page

July 10, 2017 by Canadian Plastics

North America’s three leading plastics industry trade groups have outlined what they describe as a “unified platform of policy priorities” for the forthcoming modernization of NAFTA – a platform they believe will strengthen each nation’s plastics industry.

After a summit in held Mexico City on July 5, the heads of the U.S.-based Plastics Industry Association, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, and Mexico’s Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico AC released a joint statement opposing new tariffs and supporting greater harmonization of regulations.

“Our three organizations stand unified in wanting to support the growth and development of our industry across North America,” said Plastics Industry Association president and CEO William 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.”

The leadership from the three organizations agreed on several specific areas of focus for trade negotiators when they begin their work on NAFTA later this year. Together, the North American plastics industry will advocate for:

1. 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,” the statement said. “Broadly, each organization supports efforts to promote this growth.”

2. Harmonization of regulations of all types as they affect the industry. For example, aligning regulations on food packaging that are different 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,” the group said. “Adjusting NAFTA to facilitate enhanced sustainability efforts throughout the industry in North America is a key goal for all three nations.”

3. A review of the Rules of Origin (ROO). “We endorse a review of the Rules of Origin and their enforcement under NAFTA as they impact everything from raw plastic materials all the way through finished products containing plastic,” the statement said.

4. A simplification and modernization of trade and customs documentation. “As policymakers enacted NAFTA before the age of digital commerce, its lack of provisions pertaining to digital commerce are a perennial weakness in the agreement as it currently stands,” the group said. “The ability to access and file customs documentation and other paperwork necessary to conduct legal trade between the three nations should be modernized to provide for digital or online transmission.”

5. Ease of employee access throughout the continent. Employees of plastics companies, particularly those that sell and service manufacturing machinery, should be more able to travel and work throughout the NAFTA member nations, the group said. “Certain requirements make it costly for businesses to send employees to other countries to provide their services, and these should be adjusted or eliminated,” they continued.

6. No new tariffs. ​​​​​​​“The absence of tariffs is what’s made NAFTA so successful for all three member nations’ plastics industries over the last 25 years,” the statement said. “The North American plastics industry is united in its opposition to any new tariffs that would have a profoundly negative impact on all three nations and their workers.”

7. Continued labour cost flexibility between the three nations. ​​​​​​​​​“The diversity of labour costs in North America provides immense benefits to our industries, and allows each of them to be competitive globally and to play to the strengths of each individual country’s plastics industry,” the statement said. “We would oppose attempts to restrict the choices manufacturers have when it comes to where and how they make their products.”

“North America has become the world’s leading continental player when it comes to energy,” said CPIA president and CEO Carol Hochu. “Since plastics are so tightly entwined with our partners in the energy sector, it makes sense for North America to be the world’s leader in plastics and plastics manufacturing as well, and 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.”