Chambers Support Trade Agreement

Article excerpt

By Lou Anne Wolfe

Journal Record Staff Reporter

Local and state chambers of commerce both support the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"With the passage of NAFTA, Oklahoma could emerge as a hub of operations due to our geographic location between Canada and Mexico, with Canada and Mexico already our No. 1 and No. 4 trading partners with the state of Oklahoma," said Ken Townsend, chairman of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

"In the final analysis, the NAFTA would have a positive effect on Oklahoma, both in terms of jobs creation and economic stimulation," according to the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce

Industry.

Mexico's reduction of tariffs and nontariff barriers contributed to a 146 percent increase to $119 million in Oklahoma export products last year, compared with 1989, Townsend said. "NAFTA would eliminate trade barriers between Mexico and the United States over the next 10 years, giving U.S. energy companies access to Mexican energy sectors, and having a positive impact on many other types of Oklahoma businesses."

The state chamber echoed that sentiment, saying in a position paper that Oklahoma has experienced increased exports to both Canada and Mexico in recent years _ increases that would be accentuated under the trade agreement.

"Increased exports mean jobs, and while some lower-paying jobs may be lost in the short term, over the long haul many higher-paying jobs will be created under the agreement to more than offset these losses," the state chamber said. …