tv U.S. Conference of Mayors Discussion on U.S.- Mexico- Canada Agreement CSPAN January 23, 2019 9:51pm-10:59pm EST
always supporting the u.s. conference of mayors. this session is adjourned, guys. let's get to our best practices work shops. [captions copyright national 2019]satellite corp. captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org . >> good afternoon. mayors, i will have you a packed seat and i -- house, not surprised, i want to thank all of you for being here. i am kevin faulkner, mayor of the great city of san diego, glad to have all of you, we'll guess we welcome our c-span
audience that is joining us here today. i have been looking forward to this afternoon's program. we have an group, the u.s., mexican, and canadian representatives offering us insight on the mca agreement and what that means. where joined by mayor crombie from my friendr and colleague robert garcia who is mayor of long beach and chairman of the ports and exports task force. ofwill welcome the deputy the u.s. trade representative cj mahoney, ambassador mahoney will talk to us about the recently signed u.s.-mexico-canada agreement. after ambassador mahoney we will martha barador center and the new mexican ambassador. and it is our privilege to hear
from ambassador david mack not and who was with us last year when we had our inaugural meeting and who is -- has us atusly agreed to host the embassy tomorrow for a reception. today's discussion comes at an important time for the north american trade history. for many years, many of us in this room have advocated for a modernized agreement. one that would engage all businesses and all sizes and one that would embrace technology in the digital age. -- one that would success we have seen under the original nafta. as many of you know, i have worked very hard to strengthen the ties between san diego and tijuana. our neighbors next door. true by national region, it is a binational region that works. it is a success story and one
that i welcome the opportunity to talk about. free trade works. i will say that again. free trade works and it is incumbent upon us as mayors, bipartisan approach to talk about how important that is because when we talk about jobs, we're talking about jobs and cities and a lot of statistics get thrown around when we are talking about trade agreements and probably rightfully so but the jobs we are talking about impact all of us. all of our families and it is all about those opportunities. as we look at the year ahead, in 2019, i am looking forward to us leadyors to be leaders, to in on this conversation and how important it is to get that across the finish line. when we look at all of the trade,nt clusters that when it comes to the u.s., mexico, and canada, it is one of the most important segments and are committed -- our economy.
are doing and medical device manufacturing and aerospace clusters, cyber security in san diego and mexico , all that is possible because of free trade. is sos why usmca important. our ability to race this in the coming months, you can count on me to be the champion to work with all of you to help get this with onee finish line goal, to get congress to sign this into action. thank you for being here my thank you to our impressive panel of leaders that are dedicated to increasing trade and increasing foreign investment. let's get to the discussion, it welcome mayor to crombie and say a couple of words on behalf of our canadian partners. welcome, just off the plane about 90 seconds ago. great timing, glad you are here.
>> good afternoon, i am mayor of the great city of mississauga in ontario, canada, the sixth largest city in canada, the third largest in the province of toronto and ottawa. glad to be here today. delayed a.m. flight was were 12:30 p.m., we counting the minutes. i am pleased to join you here today and join in on this important discussion, thank you, mayor faulkner, ambassador and fellow mayors. it is my privilege to represent the federation of canadian municipalities, we call it fcm at home, we join you to bring the perspective of canada's mayors. my colleague spoke to you. if you have met him, you know i .ave very big shoes to fill
he spoke about the importance of free trade between our nations, our shared history, and the importance of redefining free-trade between our two countries for the 21st century. last year at this time when he spoke to you, we were still renegotiating what was nafta. it was well over two decades old and in need of some fine tuning, but it set the stage by defining free trade between our three countries. it resulted in our economies being highly intertwined, creating millions of jobs and prosperity on all sides of the border. for -- orhave usmca amus.nada we call it c or the new nafta. reached a modernized agreement that serves the interests of each of our nations. and while we may debate some of
the specifics on the whole, it is a strong agreement that was reached only after tremendous efforts by all parties involved. and while mayor iversen spoke to you about the importance of reaching a new deal, i will speak about the importance of ratifying [indiscernible] that have been negotiated. why is it so important that we proceed? over 14 million jobs depend on free-trade between our countries. these jobs are in our communities, they are our residents, and their success is our success. ar three countries represent $21 trillion and 480 million consumers, think about that, four hundred 80 million consumers in the market. the largest economic region in the world, it represents one quarter of the world's gdp but only 7% of the total world
population. imagine. canada is the number one customer of 36 u.s. states and in the top three for 48 states. canada buys more from the u.s. than anyone else does. and that includes the eu, mexico, china, and japan. , myselfon canadians included, visit the u.s. annually, pumping $20 billion into the u.s. economy. these statistics are is and was as they are enormous. it is more than just the numbers. free and fair trade between our three countries is essential to our national, state, and local prosperity, our security, and our connection as a people. we are better together. every mayor around this table and at this conference appreciates that while trade agreements are negotiated at the
national level, their impact is felt at the local level. my city is almost 800,000 people. 73 fortune 500 companies. half a million jobs. we are the business capital of canada. we have more per capita than any other city. let me make sure that is not true of north america. free, fair, and reciprocal trade with the u.s.. economice hubs of growth and innovation.
as many of you know, products ae shipped before becoming finished product. they often have costs that are passed along to the consumers. we have a strong voice and we can impact change at other levels of government. the state and the national level. is my hope that by working together as mayors, we can drive this home. i look forward to this i appreciate the invitation to participate. >> next, we are going to hear longrobert garcia from
beach. the floor is yours. >> long beach is the second easiest report we have in the u.s.. jobs perspective, the greatest generator of jobs. the issues around trade are important. task are two big issues to whichll be looking at have been discussed in this committee as well in the past. the first is also a priority for the conference and for the congress coming into the session. we are all aware of the harbor maintenance trust fund. are not aware of the trust fund, this is a critical fund of funds -- that funds maintenance activities. it has about $9 billion of
surplus in it. unfortunately, each year congress is unable to allocate those funds to our ports even though of course. fees are collected annually from our seaports from across the country. ensuring work with congress and the conference to ensure these surpluses are authorized is really important for us in the task force. we have supported in the past bipartisan efforts to reallocate those funds for modernization activities and we will continue to do so. i know that our former president of the conference and mayor of los angeles is here and he understands port issues almost better than anyone so i thank him for being here today. we are fortunate coming into this congress that the new chairman of infrastructure is a great ally of sports and we know this is a real good opportunity for us to get an infrastructure package done and hopefully
release funds important for all of us. this is going to be a priority for the task force in the coming year and a certainly been a priority for mayor benjamin as certainly been a priority for mayor benjamin as well as mayor garcetti who is involved in the infrastructure task force and ensuring that group. included in the port agenda of course is making sure funds are collected but also appropriated so the trust fund does not continue to grow and grow and . the second big issue is the export import bank of the united states. most of us know the history of the bank and its inability to function as a full board because of issues of appointments. we want to make sure and support the senate confirm the rest of the nominees before the senate once again. the good news is the white house resubmitted to the senate the nominees in place in this last congress and it's incredibly important for us that the senate
as quickly as possible confirm these nominees. if anyone here hasn't a chance to work with the bank, they're incredibly important for particularly small businesses in and around our ports. they have visited and do a great job providing financial assistance for many of our businesses. forddition, the bank is up reauthorization. the charter runs out so the conference is seeking policies to support the bank. also recall the last reauthorization was not an easy task and we know there is both the reauthorization process, but also appointment of the nominees which have got to get through this year. let me finally say the bank is key to many businesses across the country. they are good for u.s. businesses, good for metro
economies and key to national growth for us as a country. i ask to look for communications from a task force in the coming months and i want to thank you for the opportunity for the remarks. >> thank you, mayor garcia. very well said. as i mentioned at the outset we are privileged today to have with us deputy united days trade representative, cj mahoney, ambassador mahoney was confirmed by the senate in march last year. he serves as deputy united states trade representative for investment, services, labor, environment, africa, china and the western hemisphere. that is a lot. investor mahoney has from yale degrees law school where he served as editor-in-chief and he clerked for justice anthony kennedy in the supreme court of the united states. before his appointment he was a partner where he practiced focused on international arbitration and commercial litigation. we are delighted to have you
here today. the floor is yours. after we hear some of your comments, i'm going to open it up for q and a. >> well, thank you very much. great to be here today with this distinguished group and thank you for my co-panelists for your very thoughtful comments. as mayors who are problem i know that solvers first and foremost and that's how we see our job at ustr. it exists to open up markets and to crack down on unfair trade practices. that is not an ideological mission. not a partisan mission and we try to conduct ourselves in a bipartisan fashion. there is no better example of that the u.s.mexico canada agreement where we worked extensively with republicans and with democrats over the course of 14 months to negotiate what we think is a truly fantastic agreement, which i'd like to talk with you all about today.
for i do that, i want to reflect on the importance of north american trade. ouronduct trade with neighbors in canada and mexico. are equally impressive when we drill down to the state level. and canada are among the first or second largest destinations for goods exports for 46 of the 50 states. matterserican trade just as much as to american cities. metropolitan areas like san southerns angeles, the border. detroit, minneapolis, and milwaukee on the northern border, exports billion's of dollars of goods every year. the same is true of cities large and small throat the interior of the country. canada is the top export market for 26 of the 50 largest
metropolitan areas in the u.s.. mexico is the largest theination for 16 out of top 50. much of that trade is governed by the north american free trade agreement or nafta. enacted in 1994, it illuminated was to terrorist between the three countries and imposed other rules and tended to facilitate trade. it had the effect of increasing cross-border trade and that was a good thing for many industries particularly farmers and ranchers. nafta also created incentives jobs,mpanies to outsource particularly in the manufacturing sector. time, youted over would see wage convergence between the u.s. and mexico. in fact, wages in the manufacturing sector are lower today in real terms than in 1994. nafta did nothing to a this
issue, unfortunately. the text of the agreement does not set labor or environmental standards this hidden the tories must follow. in order to get the agreement through congress, the clinton administration did strike side agreements with mexico and canada, but the obligations are weak and outdated and unenforceable. anda has the common stale outdated. evens negotiated before dial up internet was popular. negotiators could not have otherpated digital and products important to the modern economy. nafta is in need of a update. ofognizing it has become out date, the president trump promised to fix it.
we were able to succeed. we successfully concluded negotiations to replace nafta with the usmca. withgreement was signed president trump and prime minister trudeau. the state-of-the-art agreement reflects the administration for free pharmaceutical trade. includes far-reaching obligations to ensure fairness and reciprocity, modernize the agreement to promote the 21stcentury economy, strengthen the agreement to combat nonmarket practices that put american workers and companies at an unfair disadvantage. across the board, usmca is better for workers, farmers, businesses small and large more men nafta or any other trade agreement the u.s. is ever negotiated. the agreement not only keeps most tears to zero, does more to eliminate barriers and unfair subsidies.
it contains the best digital services and intellectual property chapters the u.s. has ever negotiated hands down. these provisions not only help to preserve the natural competitive innovation is >> -- advantage in innovation, if adopted, they will also set a new standard we hope to export to the rest of the world. the agreement contains a host of provisions designed to crack down on unfair trade practices. these include a first of its kind permission of competitive currency devaluation. new disciplines on state owned enterprises and provisions designed to prevent countries outside of north america from invading -- evading duties. at the same time, some of the most significant deficiencies in nafta by taking labor and environmental concerns seriously. the agreement contains the strongest and most ambitious labor environment privations s protections ever included in
a trade agreement. working with our mexican partners, we agreed mexico to overhaul a system so workers for the first time have a right to elect and challenge union leadership and approve new and existing collective bargaining agreements. the agreement also contains first of its kind language to prevent violence against labor organizers. the u.s. mca environmental provisions are no less ambitious. they represent the most advanced and comprehensive obligations ever agree to a trade agreement to combat illegal traffic in wildlife, timber, and fish, to protect fish and marine species and address other pressing environmental problems. unlike in nafta, these labor and environmental obligations are fully enforceable coupled with robust monitoring and enforcement mechanisms, they will create fair competition between the u.s. and our partners in mexico and canada. we've also strengthened rules to
prevent free riding and encourage more investment in north america and in particular in the united states. the benefits of these changes in the rules will largely accrue to u.s. workers and these new rules when taken together will result in billions of dollars in new investment in the united dates -- states in the short-term. we've recently seen some of you make newies announcements. some of you might have heard announcement from volkswagen. electricned to build vehicles. these investments represent the short-term benefits in the automotive sector. but the real benefit will accrue over the long run. as companies make decisions about where to locate and source parts. the innovative rules of origin will ensure much of the production and the high-paying jobs they support will be
centered in north america and in particular in the united states. in short, once enforced usmca will result in more balanced reciprocal trade with mexico and canada, support high-paying jobs for americans, grow the north american economy and ensure our region remains the world's economic powerhouse. all congress has to do is pass it and that is where i hope you all can help us. you all have influence on your members of congress. they listen to you, understand your problems. they know you're looking out for what's good for your communities and are concerned first and foremost with jobs and economic development. we need your help. if members of congress put politics aside and focus on the substance i have no doubt this will pass overwhelmingly in both houses. this is not only the best trade agreement in my view that the u.s. is negotiated. it is also the most bipartisan. throughout the negotiations, well before the results of the midterm elections were known, we worked very closely with democrats to ensure the final
agreement reflected their priorities. the unprecedented labor and environmental commitments be we secured in the new agreement are the fruits of those efforts. this administration has done more to promote labor and then anyntal interests administration, republican or democrat has done in any prior trade agreement. i'm optimistic about our chances of success in this endeavor but success is certainly not assured. given the importance of the agreement to workers, farmers and ranchers the stakes couldn't be higher. again, i ask for your support and look forward to any questions you might have. thank you. >> thank you for that overview. as i said, now i would like to open it up for about 10 to 15 minutes for some of your thoughts and q&a while we have ambassador mahoney with us. introduce yourself. say hello. >> well, thank you for the short presentation. it is very meaningful and allows
us to have some time. i'm denny doyle from beaverton, oregon and i really was enthusiastic about the previous trade agreement and so i'm hoping this one does. we study the impacts. we have a lot of businesses. we do a lot of exporting and it's critical for the state of oregon and some of the major companies that we get this in place. we just really believe in this. this is going to help us get to the point where we can work with other countries in a similar fashion. the question i have in your communications, let us know who's going to do what neither in terms of getting this through the house or the senate because as you mentioned people in this , room know a lot of elected sarah and i will do anything i can to help you get this done. in your communication, let us know what to do. >> thank you very much. i really appreciate it. mayor, you and i had the
opportunity to talk. we'll be in touch with you and others. the white house is fully behind this effort and the will also be reaching out and helping us coordinate. >> you are absolutely right -- you are absolutely right. this is such an important agreement. so important to exporting states like oregon, but to many others as well. we really on the to come together in a bipartisan fashion, get it done quickly. in large part so we also move on to finding ways to open up other markets. if we are successful here, those efforts will be boosted significantly. we will have -- it will be a nice demonstration that congress is ready to pass the trade agreements again. on the other hand if we have , problems with this, the efforts are more complicated. >> thank you. i am the mayor of west sacramento, california and share chair of the workforce committee so i wanted to ask you one of the labor questions. there the home of what is 2000th largest port in the
united states by volume. thanks to chairman garcia as well. i've been a strong supporter of a variety of the trade agreement s for the impact they have both on our economy in california and nationally, but also particularly in north america because our state and community , the strongerger mexico is. the mexican economy and some of the anticorruption provisions of this agreement as well. i want to ask about the labor one. this has been one of the flash points in the debate so far. this agreement contains an important provision that deals with the labor costs you described earlier and requiring that mexican workers in the automobile industry make $16 an hour to try to close that gap between mexico and the united states. that's a big leap for mexico. if you make $16 an you are in hour, the 1% in terms of income, so it not a small matter.
it's enforceable in the sense of the agreement. but i'm curious as to your sent of how it would actually be enforced. the mexican government, which hosted us a delegation from the conference of mayors in the fall has announced doubling of the , minimum wage in the border zone and a significant increase 16-20% countrywide. that is still far short of $16 an hour. as one of the provisions of the agreement i'm wondering if you could describe how you anticipate that would actually be enforced given the leap that it is for the mexican economy. >> those are all very good questions. i am happy to address them. requirement onhe $16 an hour, what we have done origin,uto rules of they are rules if a product comes over the border, in order freealify for duty
treatment, a certain percentage of the car has to remade in north america. the current threshold is 62.5%. the rules are written with loopholes. rid of some of the loopholes. addition to meeting the companies have to meet the labor value requirement. 40% of a car and 45% of a truck have to be made by people making $16 an hour. the best way to think of that is requirement. it is the case in mexico, even at the high end. ano wages are 3-5 dollars hour. so it's going to be a long time before the wage gap converges.
companies are going to comply by ensuring that 40% to 45% contains content primarily attributable to facilities in the united states and canada where workers make an average of $16 an hour. at the same time, there is upside for mexico in the agreement as well because we're raising the regional value threshold. rather than bringing in parts from germany or japan or korea, those parts have to be made in north america. there is upside for all countries. three the high wage requirement is something that is going to ensure we don't have a race to the bottom in wages. at least in the short term, that is going to result in a lot more sourcing of u.s. parts and more investment in the u.s. and that is frankly what it was designed to do. >> time for a couple more questions. other thoughts.
>> i wanted to talk a little bit about -- june, the annual : attendance. >> with our reaction to headlines in canada, that were the result of the beginning shots of this recent trade war with canada, we eventually to negotiation's. it put us in a difficult position. in a couple of different ways. rhetoric used was shocking. when you hear it used with
reference to leaders who have been your strongest partners. the use of old-fashioned protectionism to try to advance of the united states by taking a shot at canada, you had us in the foot because you heard some discussion here about the automobile industry. it is so integrated across the border that on the day we were meeting in ajax, the county executive of erie county, new york was meeting with the mayor of hamilton, ontario, complaining about the mutual damage they thought this could do to the automotive industry. the question i guess is a question of process. i have a phd in international relations from johns hopkins. before i was mayor, i was director of the graduate program
in international affairs and has served as arms control negotiator in the reagan administration with the russians although i am myself a democrat so i know sometimes international negotiations, it requires a little leverage to get the job done. i also know it requires uncertainty about the outcome of the process for investors on both sides of the border to feel confident making the types of investments that can take 20-30 years to amortize and recoup. we need to avoid having these sorts of bumps in the road in the future. i would be very interested to know how you think we can give greater confidence to markets that these strong relationships are not going to be disrupted in the future. >> well, your honor, it certainly is the case as you well know that negotiations can get heated from time to time. what really matters is given at
press headline at any point in the negotiation but where we ended up. with what i think will be the foundation for an even stronger relationship with mexico and canada. the ambassador to the u.s. was here today and we were when the negotiations were over, we flew up to have dinner. so that is just one microcosm of how our relationship is strong and friendly. despite the fact that canada and mexico have very tough to go shaders as they should. we have tough negotiators, too. it was a process that was long and difficult although by standards of trade negotiations, we got this done at warp speed. i completely agree with you. one of the reasons i left the
private sector is because i think it's very important the u.s., mexico and canada maintain a free and open fair trading relationship. it was important to a de facto. -- to update nafta. the next step is to have been -- have congress pass the u.s. mca. more question. thank you for joining us this afternoon. thank you very much. i am going to switch over here and i'm going to invite to the the new ambassador from mexico. also the canadian ambassador to the united states. welcome.
we are so glad to join you for this panel. get right to it. to keep the introductions relatively short so we can have a full discussion and q&a. the ambassador join the mexican foreign service. in 1979. and has had a long and distinguished career representing her country. she has served as the general in barcelona. ambassador to denmark, turkey, and most recently the permanent representative to the united nations organizations and bodies in rome. credentials toer the president of mexico how many weeks ago? >> 11.
we extend a very warm welcome. welcome. >> thank you very much, mayor. mayor robert garcia. it's an honor to be here with you during this roundtable seminar. i'm absolutely a diplomat of the increasing role of mayors as international actors. in many areas such as climate change, but also on trade. i wanted to say some bullets and ideas to share with you. from the point of view of mexico, nafta of course brought very good results. but uneven results. some regions of mexico progress a lot with nasa. -- nafta.
the central part of mexico, the northern border. more integrated and the south and southeast of mexico did not benefit as the rest of the country. salaries and export industries raised, but salaries in other parts of mexico particularly the rural area didn't grow. with these diagnoses that i can go on, it was clear for us that and toeeded an upgrade be modernized. although we recognize all the benefits that nafta brought to certain regions of mexico in in many sectors and of course to the mexican economy as a whole the region as a whole, we agreed and the competitiveness of in principle that we needed a new treaty, a modernized treaty with to increase economic competitiveness.
to create more and better jobs and better paid jobs, to improve prosperity of our people and to attend the priorities of each country. it is very important for us that we reach that goal, we have all the support of the different actors of the u.s. society and particularly the governors and the mayors to guarantee the ratification of usmca that we call -- it is ok, you can call smca in the u.s. congress. so, what is the process in mexico for ratification? i will tell you in mexico only the senate needs to ratify the congress. not the chamber of deputies. on the other side, we don't need implementing legislation because
once it is ratified, it immediately becomes part of mexican law. so our process will be fact process andou are we will maybe consider to meet the treaty not maybe but almost for sure in the next session in mexico that starts in february. just for you to know what is our scenario. what are we going to tell our senators to really push them and invite them to ratify the trade agreement as fast as possible? it is a treaty that has a very important aspect of modernization. in telecom, energy, e-commerce, regulations, anticorruption and transparency.
it has a treaty that includes a progressive agenda in competitiveness, gender, environment, labor and small and , medium enterprises. it is a treaty that contains aspects of transparency in government procurement and state owned enterprises. it is a treaty that gives us certainty for the future, keeping in place the dispute mechanisms. now, the usmca needs to move forward as i said to be approved timely by the branches of the three countries. just to underline some other ideas and data that has been approached here today. regarding labor laws we know it is something that interests many
actors in the u.s. as soon as the new government took office, one of the first measures that he took was a ratification of convention 98, which as you know is two of the key convention on unions and freedom of association. second, in december he submitted already to congress the new labor laws, amended labor laws. the congress did not have time to consider them. they only received them because they were dealing with the budget. but in the next ordinary session of the congress that started the beginning of february, the consideration of the labor laws will the one of the priorities. so i want you to underline that mexico is fully committed to amend its labor laws to make them compatible with what is the content of the usmca and the
congress of mexico we consider -- will consider them with a speed that is necessary. u.s., mexico, and canada together traded 1.32 in dollars trillion in 2017. just to make a comparison, that amount of trade is equivalent of mexico's gdp. so, it shows. the bilateral trade between mexico and the u.s. is $557 billion in 2017. it is about the gdp of half of the latin american -- if you count each latin american country, this trade is higher than the gdp of most latin american countries. u.s. companies and farmers exported to mexico $243 billion in goods and services, making mexico the second-largest destination in the world for
u.s. exports. this is important because for all mexicans, we know since we are born that the u.s. is important for us. but i think for most of the american citizens, and they don't know how important is mexico for the u.s. it is not only on trade the culture.teractions and just for you to know, yesterday roma, thecars, mexican film received the largest amount of nominations. 10. [applause] this is the president and the future of the u.s. film industry and part of the self power not only of the u.s., but of mexico, too. today, mexico is the first export market for california, - new mexico and texas.
the second market for 23 states including georgia, kansas, illinois, michigan and many more. according to the department of in 2017, exports from metropolitan areas to mexico accounted for 90% of total u.s. exports. el paso exported 21 billion. houston $17 billion. los angeles almost $11 million. san diego almost $6 billion. our integrated economies and how we create food manufactured goods and services make us independent and secure as a region. we guarantee the food security of the u.s. particularly from november to april in exports of fruits and vegetables. this is the result of stable
rules and highly competitive industries interconnected into a sophisticated architecture of vertical supply chains in north america. on-the-job side, an estimated 40 million jobs depend on the trilateral trade and according to our data, 5 million jobs in the u.s. relies on trade with mexico. this is why trade is important for your communities and needs to be understood and supported at the local level to preserve and grow those jobs. mexico and other data that is not very well known as an important source of foreign direct investment into the u.s. with an investment of $35 billion, which supports almost 80,000 jobs in your community. some of the biggest mexican foods aremission
investing in the u.s., not only in the border region but all of the u.s.. so just let me close by saying that the mexican government and the mexican society looks to work very close with the united states and canada. not only on trade, but in a very wide agenda. that includes environment, education, science and technology, innovation, border cooperation. we want with the u.s. a border that is a synonym of innovation and creativity, of opportunities , unemployment, and we are certain that we can reach that because that border is key to the free trade success. so, we want to integrate more with canada, with the u.s. in a deeper competitive integration to the global economy as the mayor said, we are better to
gether and i think that should be are saying -- the sentence that guides our steps for the future. we need the communities and local governments to get involved and run the last of mile with this modernization process. get the treaty ratified and move on to make their u.s.mexico canada agreement and our relationship a success. >> thank you, ambassador. i appreciate those words. thank you so much. >> it's an honor for me to introduce our ambassador, canada's ambassador to the united states. i've known david for many years and i can confidently say canada has chosen the best person to represent our national interest here in washington. he brings a wealth of public and private sector experience on both sides of the border in a really strong understanding of
the importance of the relationship between our two countries. i know he was instrumental in achieving the new nafta, whatever you may call it, and is working hard to see a ratified in all three countries. david, the floor is yours. thank you. >> thank you very much, bonnie. i should say that for those of you who haven't been to mississauga, it is one of the most, if not the most dynamic community in canada. it is extraordinarily friendly. - the technology sector in mississauga is booming. any of you who think that some of your businesses would like to expand by making investments in canada, you should look at mississauga. you can just get off the plane at pearson airport and you are right there. that is my little plug. i'd just like to thank my
colleague, the mexican ambassador. it is funny because -- and also to you, mayor faulkner, mayor garcia and all of you for being here during the course of the negotiations there were some difficult times. there were some bruised egos and some difficult words exchanged on all three sides. the mayor of niagara falls, new york, knows how close canada and the united states have been over the years. i grew up in hamilton. i spent a good amount of time in niagara falls, new york. we are extraordinary close to as two countries. i was fortunate to get to know the mexicans much better. the ambassador plus processor and i got to be quite good friends.
i got to know extremely well and i will tell you that not withstanding, you know, some of the rhetoric and difficulties we had, you know, i grew to really respect the efforts that the mexicans were making to try to get a deal and that bob lighthizer and cj mahone were making, too. i wouldn't have predicted this halfway through the negotiations, but ambassador lighthizer and i have become quite good friends. i would not have predicted that at the time. everybody was fighting for their countries and also it was a very, very difficult time both physically because we did negotiate an awful lot of things in a very short period of time, but it was emotionally challenging, too. as all of you know we were just
not just moving pieces around a chest or. -- chessboard. we were talking about communities, people, jobs and you knew that we had to try and get things done and you had to see the other side, the other countries win, too. everything you gave up was going to have some impact on somebody in your country. what the confidence we had to have was that, you know, one plus one would equal more than three and i think it does. i have talked to many members of congress since we did the deal and many of the governors and i say to you today that there will be people in our country that talk about the shortcomings of this agreement. that there are problems. that it's not perfect. and i totally agree. but i can tell you, this
agreement is way better for all three countries. workers in all three countries. communities in all three countries than the previous agreement. both cj and the ambassador here have indicated some of the areas they strengthened. i can give you many myself, but the truth of the matter is we do have a labor chapter. we do have an environment chapter. we do have a chapter on small business. we have improved dispute resolution mechanism. there is a digital chop or chapter and none of those things existed before. i would simply say to people that are critical and i think every time when you do these things particularly when it's public policy, when it has to be approved by people who've been elected, it is right to challenge these things.
but i am confident once congress looks at the details once the , mexican senate looks at the details and once our house of commons and senate look at the details they will come to the , same conclusion we have come to, that this is a significant improvement over the previous deal and it is also and i would agree with cj on this that it is also a model that the rest of the world can look at and we can use as we try to expand trading opportunities for citizens in all three of our countries. i think the other thing that is really important and we kept in close touch not with our business community, but with investors from the united states and mexico who have investments in canada and one of the common, you know, things we've heard from them as please get this done because we want to remove the uncertainty.
we need to feel as if we know what the rules of the game are so we can make our investments. i think we been able to do that and that is why i would urge all three countries as soon as they can. i would just add one sort of note of concern. one note of worry about the current situation. and that is not withstanding the fact we have reached an agreement all three countries, there exists still to this day tariffs on steel and aluminum that were imposed we think unfairly and illegally in terms of section 232, which purports that somehow or another we are a national security threat. that is the rationale for using 232 to impose these terrorists and mexico by the
united states. this is causing distortions in the marketplace. it is causing companies in all three countries to lose opportunities. it is increasing costs for consumers and we need to have these tariffs gone. the sooner they are gone the better. i will simply quote a very esteemed american in this regard. and i quote, tariffs on steel and aluminum will only come off if they knew and fair nafta agreement is signed. that statement was made in march of 2018 by president trump. he has now said that this is a fair deal, a good deal, the best deal that has ever been done. i would simply say, please let
us get on with building our three countries together. let us get on with our defense and security agreements and relationship we have had for more than 150 years and let's do this altogether because we will be stronger together if we do that. thank you very much. [applause] >> i think we have time for a couple of questions. if you have a question for either of the ambassadors. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to just extend a thank you to the ambassador of mexico, the delegation that came from the united states to the inauguration. the diplomatic intelligence that was on display of the knowledge of the united states and of our cities. the respect of his given to
mayors and to cities was unprecedented. the recognition of exactly what you describe in terms of the priority of the administration to work directly with governors and mayors to deepen the bonds between our two countries in trade and in other domains. it was an extraordinary, extraordinary visit and certainly was reflective of the fact that the new president and the secretary of foreign affairs are both foreign mayors themselves and the recognition of the role mayors can play on the world stage and particularly in the relationship between our two countries. i want to say thank you very, very much for the tremendous hospitality, but also the deep bonds that were forged at that moment that i know are already in play in our own communities. to the ambassador of canada come i want to agree wee bit outer streetcar project in our local city, which he would not think of as being a global matter, a matter of international concern. we bid that out. we've been working on this project for 10 years.
went out for construction bids in november. just got them back a week and a half ago. the engineer estimate to construct it was $108 million. the bid came back at $185 million to read $75 million over the estimate, almost entirely because of steel costs. this has an effect. these policies have a very direct effect on domestic policy. i couldn't agree with you more. tariffs to lift those and advanced more and more of let trade work its magic in terms of the mutual economic benefit. thank you. >> thoughts or questions? from lansing michigan.
my question is for the canadian ambassador. are you seeing differentials in trade over the recent months? especially with the steel? canada is our biggest trading partner in michigan. i came out of the legislature. we work with a lot of different parties from canada. i know steel has been an issue. we've seen a few other areas . do you think the agreement is going to change the way trade is up with northern states? >> you know, what happened over the years since 1994 i think is that our economies have become much more integrated. one of the things that has happened in the new agreement is that we will be all to speed up -- be able to speed up because of the technological innovations movements back-and-forth across the border. being from lansing, you all know that there are many automobiles and other pieces of equipment for the parts cross
back-and-forth rear for times before they get assembled. i think we will become more competitive rather than less. what has happened because of the tariffs,, it has had a huge distorting effect and it is actually not had the impact that the u.s. wanted to have, which was to try to deal with people, nonmarket economies and i won't mention countries, but nonmarket economies who happened to be subsidizing their product and putting people in canada and the united states out of business. it's actually had the exact opposite effect. it has driven up costs in its made fully assembled products from those countries that can come in, putting some businesses on both sides of the border in great jeopardy. and so, you know, i think we just need to -- it is interesting on the steel side of things, the united dates has a 2
billion-dollar surplus with canada. we had to put tariffs on you when to put tariffs on not. -- on us. happening, they are rubbing their hands with glee at what is happening. in the case of aluminum, canada has been a reliable supplier of aluminum to the united states since the second world war when it was u.s. investors who really built some of the smelters in canada that supply airplane part s for your military and everything. so we need to get rid of these things quickly and we need to find more and more ways that we can make trade between our countries easier for small
businesses and easier for us to build a better economy. one of the things were doing that we started before that wasn't part of nafta but i wanted to give it a additional push is to to try and harmonize regulations between our countries so that, you know, standards that might be a little bit off between canada and the united states, we harmonize them so small business doesn't have to go through two approval processes. what we have said is if there is no impact on safety, you know, and quality, then let's have the same regulations. businesses can prosper on both sides of the order. -- border. i am optimistic that what is going to happen is our countries will get closer together, which is what we should do for the to beat back the rest of the competition from the rest of the globe. because otherwise they are going to be laughing and celebrating the fact we are squabbling over little things. >> we are at the time.
we had some other questions. yes, of course, final word. >> thank you, kevin. just a small word. very moved. it was an honor to host all of you in mexico. but i hope it will not be the last time because the mexican government will feel very happy and honored to host the next, not exactly the next of the future meeting of the conference of mayors in mexico. we will be sending a letter to the chairman of the conference inviting you to host your conference in mexico, most possibly in los cabos. >> thank you, very generous. [applause] >> mayors, thank you for your participation. 2019 is going to be extremely
important for free trade and all of us locally. thank you and looking forward to working with each and every one of you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] this is day 33 of the government shutdown. tomorrow, the senate has twoduled for sedro votes on competing proposals. one would advance president trump's porter wall and immigration funding. the other would advance the measure to fund the federal government for three weeks and pay for disaster relief.
you can watch these votes at 2:30 p.m. eastern and all of our gavel-to-gavel coverage live on c-span two. or anytime on c-span.org. journal, live, every day with policy issues that impact you. we will discuss the impact of the government shutdown. with the executive director of the center for policy. and then the status of the daca program. be sure to watch live on thursday morning. theow a forecast for political security and economic development in asia. this includes a number of live polls.