Progress made in modernizing NAFTA will make it easier to trade says

MONTREAL — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says progress made in negotiations to modernize NAFTA will make it easier for companies to conduct trilateral trade.After speaking to a Montreal business audience, the minister told reporters that the nine modernization chapters concluded in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement will cut red tape that has made it a hassle to conduct cross-border trade.Freeland says modernization of the 24-year-old trade agreement is often ignored by journalists who focus on struggles by the United States, Canada and Mexico to reach an overall deal.Good regulatory practices and sanitary measures may not be worthy of the front pages, she says, but bringing NAFTA up to date with the 21st Century will help those who actually trade by, for example, implementing electronic forms at the border.Consultations ahead of the start of negotiations nine months ago found that about 40 per cent of Canadians doing business with the U.S. didn’t bother to use their NAFTA preferences that allow products to be traded duty-free.Freeland says the high number showed that people making real-life decisions concluded that the hassle wasn’t worth their time.She says the public will find when a modernized NAFTA deal is concluded that it will simply be easier to trade.