Opinion: American energy and national security benefits from NAFTA

  

By Sen. Wayne Wallingford

The preliminary agreement announced recently relating to the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S. and Mexico holds great promise for the oil and natural gas industry. Potentially, the modernization of NAFTA could result in an agreement with Canada as a trading partner, will strengthen U.S. energy security and, ultimately, will benefit Missourians and all consumers. The 650 million barrels of U.S. crude oil and refined products sold to Canada and Mexico in 2016 spurred economic activity by creating jobs and growth in businesses throughout the supply chain.

Equally important is that energy trade with our continental neighbors boosts energy security, reinforcing the strategic buffer the U.S. energy leadership provides against overseas dependency and disruptions. Failure to complete a modernization of NAFTA with Mexico or a weakened NAFTA opens the door for China and Russia to increase their energy presence in Mexico, adjacent to the U.S. border. That could translate into serious national security concerns.

It is important that any finally negotiated NAFTA agreement maintain the key provisions of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) which ensures that U.S. companies’ investments in Canada and Mexico are protected and which provides that U.S. businesses operating across the border have a level playing field in regard to property due process protections.

It is my hope that the Trump Administration will modernize NAFTA in the right way for enhancing America’s economy and enhancing U. S. national security. We need to bind Mexico in NAFTA to keep its market open to the U.S., make a modernized NAFTA agreement permanent, and retain the ISDS investment provisions that protect U.S. companies.

Wayne Wallingford serves in the Missouri state Senate and is the Missouri Chairman of Vets4Energy