Railroad trade associations issue joint letter on NAFTA

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WASHINGTON — In an effort to communicate the vast benefits that the North American Free Trade Agreement has provided for the Canadian, Mexican, and United States economies, and the critical need to maintain free trade on the continent, leaders of the trade associations representing freight rail companies in each nation issued a rare joint letter to negotiators calling for constructive negotiations and the preservation of successful elements currently in place.

“Economic growth tied to NAFTA has allowed railways to invest tens of billions of dollars into their infrastructure while improving productivity and customer service, and fostering innovation,” states the letter, signed by Edward R. Hamberger, Association of American Railroads; Gérald Gauthier, Railway Association of Canada; and Dr. Iker de Luisa Plazas, Asociación Mexicana de Ferrocarriles. “Collectively, these improvements have enabled railways to maintain the low rates that are required to provide shippers with access to global supply chains and support their success.”

The organizations stressed the integrated nature of today’s global economy and the need for a continental railroad network in providing access to markets and the most affordable products to businesses and consumers in each nation.

“We are thrilled to work with our peers in Canada and Mexico to send a simple message: We must not exit NAFTA in the admirable pursuit of modernizing the agreement,” said AAR’s Hamberger. “Our members serve customers that touch nearly every sector of the global economy and do so through a complex supply chain spearheaded by railroads. This cannot be upended overnight, so we are hopeful that representatives can forge a deal that continues to improve economic outcomes across all countries and North America as a whole.”

The full letter is available online.

— An Association of American Railroads news release. Jan. 22, 2018.

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