A bipartisan Congressional Delegation (CODEL) from the U.S. House of Representatives departed for a two-day visit to Montreal, Canada for the sixth round of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations on Friday, including Alabama’s own 7th District U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell.
The eleven-member delegation met with the U.S. negotiating team and senior government officials from all three countries — the United States, Canada and Mexico — as well as representatives of the American business community to share their priorities for a successful NAFTA negotiation.
NAFTA, which governs trade between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, has a substantial impact on Alabama’s economy as Canada is Alabama’s largest export market, and Mexico is Alabama’s 4th largest.
“This weekend, I am attending the 6th round of NAFTA negotiations to make sure that working families in my district have a seat at the table when it comes to our country’s biggest economic decisions,” said Sewell on Saturday. “I support modernizing NAFTA and I believe our country can negotiate an agreement that brings better wages and better jobs to Alabama.”
Alabama’s exports to Canada and Mexico have increased by $5.6 billion since NAFTA first went into effect in 1994. For the Birmingham, Ala. metro area, global exports account for $1.9 billion in economic activity.
Sewell concluded, “For auto workers, steel workers, and farmers in my district, these talks will have lasting impacts, and I will be pushing for strong and enforceable trade laws that protect their industries. While progress has been made in the past five rounds of negotiations, I hope that all three countries can use this weekend to address many of the more contentious issues in front of us.”