The proposed North American Free Trade Agreement certainly has
provided excellent fodder for political commercials this election
Depending on who you listen to, the proposed treaty would
either give a shot in the arm to segments of the national
economy, or would assure the loss of many American jobs.
As for Oklahoma, Gary Miller, head of the international
division of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, said it could
open trade avenues for some state manufacturers, but the
agreement must be monitored closely in the areas of agriculture
"It's my belief that businesses that are not profitable now in
the United States, and are having difficulties and closing down,
leaving and going somewhere else _ whether to Mexico, Asia or
some other place _ that's going to happen with or without NAFTA,"
"What will change is, the tariff that Mexico has on goods
coming into Mexico will be reduced through NAFTA, and therefore
will make our products less costly to the Mexicans," he said.
"And one would assume we will then be selling more to the
Mexicans as a result.
"That's the top side of it. If the Mexicans are buying more,
then we're profiting from it."
There are issues involving grain and wheat exports that are
important to Oklahoma, and they center not on Mexico but on
Canada, Miller said. About three years ago, the United States
signed a free trade agreement with Canada. Because Canada
provides transportation subsidies, it has captured a 76 percent
market share of wheat exports to Mexico, according to U.S. Rep.
Glenn English, D-Okla.
Miller said the United States and Canada should go back to
their free trade agreement and deal with the issue between the
two, to try and get the wheat export market more competitive for
the United States.
Regarding energy technology and related goods, the United
States needs to make sure Mexico has a schedule for the
privatization of energylated activities, Miller said.
"That is happening, and there are some aspects that are not
yet open to foreign involvement," he said. "We would anticipate
that as we move through time, and they're able to change their
structure in this industry, that more of that (business) would
become available to foreign buyers, sellers and competitors."
Pemex, which is Mexico's governmentned oil company, is a
"sacred cow," and there are aspects that country is unwilling to
let go of at this time, Miller said. . .
Capital Access Program Finds Early Success
The Oklahoma Capital Access Program is finding early success
in the marketplace, according to Oklahoma Commerce Secretary Greg
Under the program, a lending bank decides who to lend to, then
enrolls the loan in the capital access program. The borrower and
bank put up equal guarantee fees that amount to a small
percentage of the total loan. Then the Oklahoma Capital
Investment Board matches the percentage, and the total guarantee
goes into a loan loss reserve pool.
So far, 17 banks have enrolled in the program, and seven loans
totaling just over $500,000 have been booked. Loan proceeds have
gone toward purchase of a truck, renovation of a building, to
build purchase inventory and for general working capital, Main
"That's an average of $70,000 per loan, in a market that
hasn't been served well in the past," he told members of Oklahoma
Futures this week.
The member banks are located in Altus, Blackwell, Chickasha,
Claremore, Lawton, McAlester, Oklahoma City, Ponca City,
Stillwater and Tulsa. . .
South OKC Chamber Supports State Questions
The South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce has voted to
support State Questions 649 and 650, which call for a $350
million bond issue for capital projects that would mostly benefit
colleges and universities, according to Pam Holtzclaw, executive
vice president. …