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As NAFTA Tension Mounts, Retailers Warn of Economic Catastrophe

Tuesday, 17 October 2017 03:47 PM

U.S. retailers are sounding the alarm as Nafta negotiations threaten to crumble.

With Canada and Mexico firmly rejecting U.S. demands on dairy, autos and other areas, the retail industry group that represents companies including Gap Inc. and VF Corp.  said the collapse of the trade agreement would be an “economic catastrophe.”

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, which encompasses more than 200 retailers, manufacturers and suppliers, added that Nafta’s downfall would incur “massive” disruptions in agriculture and manufacturing as well as higher costs for U.S. consumers.

“Simply put, we cannot afford for the United States to abandon free trade,” Hun Quach, the group’s head of trade policy, said in an emailed statement. “As retailers, we strongly urge all parties to preserve the parts of NAFTA that work for American businesses and to avoid proposals that would damage the U.S. economy and hurt American families.”

Mexico and Canada have repeatedly and publicly denounced U.S. demands as the fourth round of talks concludes. Nafta currently lets manufacturers -- such as garment makers -- create cross-border supply chains in which parts of a final product are sourced from different countries before being assembled in a final location. President Donald Trump’s musings about ending the accord have sparked public warnings from U.S. lawmakers and the private sector about the perils of dismantling a decades-long trade deal that has helped the region’s trade balloon to $1.2 trillion annually.

Experts at the Sourcing Summit, an apparel industry conference in Manhattan, echoed retailers’ concerns that the U.S. could withdraw from Nafta or the deal could fall apart.

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U.S. retailers are sounding the alarm as Nafta negotiations threaten to crumble.With Canada and Mexico firmly rejecting U.S. demands on dairy, autos and other areas, the retail industry group that represents companies including Gap Inc. and VF Corp. said the collapse of...
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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 03:47 PM
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