Dear PLASTICS members,

In recent weeks, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been the focus of several important discussions. With your support and insight, the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) has been able to be a part of these policy discussions and weigh in on your behalf with lawmakers and administration officials. Using data collected from our NAFTA survey, which many of you responded to, and data from our Global Business Trends and Size & Impact reports, we’ve been able to impress upon policymakers how important both NAFTA and a broader pro-trade agenda are to the U.S. plastics industry.

Mexico and Canada remain our industry’s largest export markets and while a great deal of trade goes on between companies on either side of our northern and southern borders, the economic traffic is largely outbound from the U.S.: in 2016, the U.S. plastics industry ran a $985 million trade surplus with Canada and a $10 billion trade surplus with Mexico, the second-largest surplus with Mexico of any industry in the U.S. It is not a stretch to say that these surpluses are the direct result of the market access provided by NAFTA and that they would contract significantly if that access was put in jeopardy.

PLASTICS will also be sharing the insights of its members collected from our recent NAFTA survey. The results indicate that:

  • 82 percent of PLASTICS members export to both Canada and Mexico.
  • Less than half of respondents import from either country (this makes sense given that the plastics industry maintains such strong trade surpluses with both countries).
  • A majority of respondents expressed confidence in continued growth for their business in both markets.

All of this data has been immensely helpful to PLASTICS to share with lawmakers and regulators as they eventually begin the process of strengthening NAFTA through renegotiation. So far our team has been invited to share our members’ perspectives with the Department of Commerce, and we met with key officials in the White House and the offices of several key legislators. Soon we’ll meet with the U.S. Trade Representative as well to make sure that the nation’s top trade administrators are aware of how vital NAFTA is to the U.S. plastics industry, and how valuable the input of PLASTICS and its members is in any attempt to update NAFTA.

Our work will continue as we advocate on your behalf and for the 954,000 men and women that work in the U.S. plastics industry. In the coming weeks the PLASTICS team will seek your input on NAFTA again, as we work to put together a specific set of recommendations for trade negotiators to consider that would benefit our industry. In the meantime we urge you to get involved by contacting your legislators and letting them know how NAFTA has worked for your business, and by contacting the team here at PLASTICS to share your story. Together, we can continue to maintain, and even grow our industry’s surpluses and work to build a stronger NAFTA.

Very sincerely,

The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS)