AEM increases NAFTA advocacy efforts

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) is intensifying its effort to promote a productive conclusion to NAFTA negotiations for the heavy equipment manufacturing industry.

The association is spearheading the effort to voice concerns regarding the United States’ proposed auto rules of origin. According to AEM, the proposal would inadvertently hurt North American machinery manufacturers by changing content requirements necessary to maintain duty free access to all three NAFTA markets.

Alex Russ, AEM’s director of International and Regulatory Affairs, was in Montreal for the recent round of talks, and directly conveyed industry priorities to representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“It was an important opportunity for us to meet directly with representatives from the United States, Mexico and Canada to convey our concerns and priorities as it relates to NAFTA,” Russ said. “AEM will continue to work on behalf of our members to help achieve the best possible outcome for our industry during successive rounds of NAFTA talks.”

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AEM has repeatedly urged President Donald Trump against withdrawing from the trade agreement.

“NAFTA has helped to facilitate the growth of the equipment manufacturing industry in the United States over the last quarter century, and helped to establish Canada and Mexico as the top two export markets for our industry,” Russ said. “While we are increasingly optimistic that the US will not withdraw from NAFTA, we still have more work to do to ensure the best possible outcome for our industry.”

Rich Goldsbury, AEM chair and president of Doosan Bobcat North America, also wrote an op-ed for US News and World Report. The article outlines equipment manufacturers’ priorities for an improved agreement, and explains about 30 per cent of the construction and farm machinery built in the United States is sold to another country.

“The most common destination for those pavers, excavators, planters or sprayers are our neighbors in Canada and Mexico,” Goldsbury wrote. “That is exactly why it would be a harmful mistake for our industry if the United States were to exit the North American Free Trade Agreement.”

In Canada, AEM represents about 90 member companies, ranging from original equipment manufacturers to dozens of parts and service providers.

Equipment manufacturers support about 149,000 jobs in Canada. As well, equipment companies contributed US$15 billion to the Canadian economy in 2016. Last year, AEM announced a plan to expand its advocacy services north, after the association’s board of directors identified Canadian advocacy as a key strategic priority for the industry.

“Canada is arguably the most important international actor for our industry, considering the number of equipment manufacturers, parts and service providers and customers who call Canada home,” said AEM President Dennis Slater.