20 Years of NAFTA: A Growing North American Market

Dec 17, 2012

Drew Greenblatt of Marlin Steel Wire Products says that one-fourth of the company's 33 employees are employed as a direct result of its export success.

Somewhere in Mexico, there’s a dredge named after President Bill Clinton.

A month after the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed into law, a Mexican road construction company bought two dredges from Baltimore-based Ellicott Dredges LLC and named one after President Clinton.

From a business perspective, the foremost goal of U.S. trade policy should be to tear down barriers so that companies can start exporting to all markets. By that measure alone, the North American Free Trade Agreement has been an unqualified success.

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the historic trade agreement that brought the United States, Canada, and Mexico closer together. But rather than just list statistics on how the agreement has improved the lives of consumers, and workers, we’re letting business owners speak for themselves.

“We have a lot in common with Canada and Mexico. Thanks in large part to NAFTA, it’s become much easier to do business across North America, and today 60% of our worldwide sales take place in the NAFTA market.”—Dennis Lawrence, president and CEO of CLARK Material Handling Co. – Lexington, KY

“NAFTA is a good thing for our country. It added new markets that we want, and now it’s a piece of cake to do business with Canada and Mexico.”—Drew Greenblatt, president of Marlin Steel Wire Products LLC – Baltimore, MD

“There was a 10% tariff on our product before NAFTA, which was a barrier to entry in Canada and Mexico. Thanks to NAFTA, the tariff was phased out over five years.”—Dan Ward, international operations manager for Western Forms, Inc. – Kansas City, MO

“Before NAFTA, we had virtually no sales to Mexico and Canada. Between 1992 and 1994, our revenue on exports to Canada and Mexico doubled, from around $100,000 per year to more than $250,000 per year.”—Bobby Patton, president and CEO of Patton Electronics Co. – Gaithersburg, MD

Read more of these small business success stories here and read the U.S. Chamber’s recent report NAFTA Triumphant

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