Border Trade Alliance defends NAFTA, warns of the cost of border delays

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — In light of recent comments by US presidential front-runners which have called into question the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Border Trade Alliance (BTA) has come to the agreement’s defense.

The group pointed out in a release that US exports into Canada have more than doubled since NAFTA was ratified. NAFTA nations conduct nearly US$2.4 billion in trilateral goods trade every day, the organization pointed out. However, it also said NAFTA is threatened by increasing border wait-times.

The BTA called border delays a “larger and more serious threat to the trade agreement’s continued success.”

Last year, the group launched a publicity campaign to raise awareness about the cost of border delays.

“The issue of wait-times remains a major policy priority for the BTA and we continue to share information and recommendations with policy-makers to address this critical economic issue in US border communities and our nation,” the association said in a release. “The current lack of comprehensive statistics regarding the scope and impact of wait-times at our land ports has made it difficult for policy-makers in Washington to determine the appropriate federal response.”

The BTA has thrown its support behind new legislation tabled in the US which would require the study of the economic impact and scope of the growing wait-times experienced at land border crossings. The legislation was put forth by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Congressman Ciro Rodriguez.

“There are a number of contributing factors to increased wait-times at our border crossings,” said Maria Luisa O’Connell, president of the Border Trade Alliance. “Providing policy-makers and the public with hard data will help identify the root causes of these delays as well as the appropriate federal response.”

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