Top U.S. commerce officials are scheduled to hear public comments this week on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, including from one Arizona trade representative.
The list of speakers at the U.S. Trade Office gives an idea of who has a stake in the upcoming negotiations: members of Congress and lobbyists from more than a dozen sectors, including agriculture, energy and information technology. The hearings are scheduled through Thursday.
Guillermo Valencia, chairman of the Greater Nogales-Santa Cruz County Port Authority, is one of the speakers. He wants to highlight how NAFTA has transformed manufacturing and other industries since the treaty was signed in 1994, he said.
"As time has gone by, industries have adapted and we’ve created the largest trading block in the world to the benefit of all of us that live here," Valencia said.
Valencia, in prepared remarks, recommended more investment in infrastructure and staff for ports and more common use of joint U.S.-Mexico customs inspections, which he said have been a success in Nogales. He also said he would like to see simpler requirements for food, animal and plant safety.
"We urge all three countries to identify redundancies in compliance with sanitary and phytosanitary regulations," Valencia wrote. "The approach to these regulations should be to harmonize them to help companies, importers and exporters better understand the requirements and adequately allocate their limited resources."