The BTA’s work can be divided into three broad themes. The themes encompass all of the multi-faceted issues and challenges that face the policy staff, committees, and board of directors.
Adopting the USMCA
Trade between Canada, Mexico and the United States has nearly tripled since the adoption of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Growing competition both within the NAFTA countries and globally pressure companies and governments to develop their effectiveness and meet the rising demands. Non-tariff barriers to trade such as delays at our ports of entry, caused by inadequate infrastructure or inefficient security protocols, harm the North American economies. The BTA is a leading advocate of solutions to solve the critical trade challenges facing NAFTA countries.
Modernize NAFTA, preserve trilateral trade
We strongly support efforts to modernize NAFTA to ensure it aligns with the modern economy. Allowing the agreement to collapse would be terribly damaging to North America’s competitiveness.
This issue brief discusses the importance of free trade agreements to the United States’ overall economic competitiveness.
We shared our beliefs on NAFTA’s importance with the United States Trade Representative in this letter.
Recommendations for reform
The BTA shared its views on specific areas for reform in NAFTA with the USTR during the agency’s public comment period. Our recommendations focus on how to amend rules of origin, improve customs processes, streamline maquiladora regulations, modernize inspection procedures, and more. You can read out entire submission to the USTR here.
Working with Congress to shape a new NAFTA
The BTA has been a vocal advocate for a modernized NAFTA on Capitol Hill. This letter to Congress outlines our views on why ensuring that the U.S. remains in NAFTA and why it’s so important that negotiators work diligently to modernize the agreement.
Our board chair, Paola Avila, provided testimony before a Senate Finance Committee subcommittee field hearing convened by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. Read Ms. Avila’s written testimony here.
Advocating for the ratification of USMCA
The BTA applauds the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, for reaching an agreement over the preservation of the trilateral trade framework the countries have participated in since the implementation of NAFTA.
The BTA believes the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) deserves to be adopted in Congress.
- This brief outlines our position.
- These comments in response to a U.S. International Trade Commission public comment period assess various aspects of the agreement and associated issues.
- The BTA is also a member of the USMCA Coalition, an umbrella group representing a broad swath of interests across the North American economy that is urging adoption of USMCA.
Preserving cross-border produce trade, resisting protectionism from regional interests
Coloring the ongoing USMCA conversation is a push by certain regional interests to dramatically curb the importation of produce from Mexico.
- This statement cites our opposition by the U.S. Department of Commerce to exit the 2013 Tomato Suspension Agreement, while this statement outlines the BTA’s opposition to legislation that seeks to erect barriers to cross-border produce trade.
- This fact sheet outlines the BTA’s position on preserving cross-border produce trade.
- Border Trade Alliance President Ms. Britton Clarke on August 21, 2019 released this statement upon the announcement that the United States Commerce Department and tomato growers in Mexico have reached a deal that will ensure that the import of Mexican fresh tomatoes into the U.S. remains duty-free
- The BTA on September 9, 2019 filed these comments in response to a Department of Commerce proposal regarding the Tomato Suspension Agreement. In its letter, the BTA cites its support for the removal of any duties on imported fresh tomatoes from Mexico, but the organization maintains its serious concerns over a planned inspection regime that could severely disrupt trade.
Balancing Security, Trade and Travel at the Border
In a time of heightened security concerns around the world, the BTA’s grassroots members actively engage top-level policymakers while seeking solutions for improving the security challenges for government while facilitating trade and travel across international borders. Our advocacy centers on some of the most challenging issues for NAFTA countries today, including border security, trusted shipper programs, infrastructure and travel protocols. The BTA strives for policies that strike a balance between national and economic security.
A better resourced Customs and Border Protection
Customs and Border Protection officer recruitment and retention in far-flung areas is becoming an increasing challenge for DHS, and the agency is short of its congressionally-approved staffing level. The Border Trade Alliance has been a consistent supporter of legislative efforts to boost recruitment and retention, while also supporting efforts to reduce attrition.
The Border Trade Alliance in Ocotober 2019 joined with coalition partners across various industry groups in calling on congressional appropriators to ensure increased staffing levels for Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations. Our letter can be found here.
Directing resources to land border ports of entry
Because our ports of entry are so central to our physical and economic security, we are skeptical of the efficacy of the construction of a wall along the length U.S.-Mexico border, which we believe would divert finite security resources away from the ports. This issue brief discussed our position in further detail.
Anticipating future trade flows
Customs and Border Protection, other inspection agencies, and Congress must prepare today for future trade volumes. The BTA supports a systematic and secure method for industry to share market predictions and production plans with government to ensure that inspection agencies are sufficiently prepared to process trade flows efficiently and with minimal delay. Learn more >
Improving Quality of Life in Border Communities
Since 1986, the BTA has served as the voice of border communities along the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico borders. Improving the quality of life in border communities is a top priority for the BTA and we have consistently searched for solutions to address the many unique and diverse challenges created by the tremendous growth in commerce at our borders. The BTA has a strong record of promoting the concerns of border communities to federal policymakers.
Ensuring effectiveness of the North American Development Bank
The NADB (North American Development Bank) has been an effective tool for catalyzing investment into needed infrastructure in the U.S.-Mexico border region. The BTA strongly supports efforts to maintain and amplify the vitality and impact of the NADB. Learn more >
We support legislation that would provide for a General Capital Increase for the NADB and expand the projects eligible for financing, including projects at and around ports of entry. You can read our letter on that issue here.
This press release on the topic from U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) provides a helpful overview.
Addressing specific environmental challenges
We are particularly concerned about the spillage of sewage from the Tijuana River into the San Diego region that has resulted in public health concerns as well as disruptions to the local tourist economy and military readiness.
- The Border Trade Alliance sent this letter to Rep. Juan Vargas and the co-sponsors of H.R. 3895, the North American Development Bank’s Pollution Solution Act. (This language is a since-amended H.R. 132.)
- The Border Trade Alliance sent this letter of support to Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.) and cosponsors of H.R. 4039, the Border Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, which authorizes $150,000,000 for fiscal years 2020 through 2024 for the Border Water Infrastructure Program (BWIP), and implements other needed reforms intended to improve border region water quality infrastructure.