Advocacy Launches Interagency Working Group on NAFTA Modernization


NAFTA working group
The NAFTA Interagency Working Group members (and their agencies). From left: Brett Hamsick (State); Patrick Delehanty (Office of Advocacy); Patrick Kirwan (Commerce); Lee Licata (Homeland Security); Andrew Stephens (Agriculture); Christina Sevilla (U.S. Trade Representative); Peter Cazamias (Small Business Administration); Major L. Clark III (Advocacy); Rosalyn Steward (Advocacy).

By Rebecca Krafft, Senior Editor

The Small Business Trade Enhancement Act of 2015 gave the Office of Advocacy a new responsibility—to assess the potential economic effects of future trade agreements on small businesses in the manufacturing, services, and agriculture industries.*

To do this, the law requires Advocacy to convene a working group of key government agencies whenever a new trade agreement is being negotiated. The modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), announced on May 18, signaled the first time that an interagency working group would get underway.

On June 14, Acting Chief Counsel for Advocacy Major L. Clark III convened the interagency working group in a meeting with officials from six agencies with trade responsibilities (the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, and State; and the Small Business Administration).The working group will examine NAFTA’s positive and negative trends for small entities (it has been a boon to some and problematic for others). The law requires the working group to issue an economic analysis by mid-December. (This deadline could be extended by the President of the United States.) The working group is currently assembling a diverse group of small- and medium-sized enterprise representatives who will provide their views on economic impacts of NAFTA on their industries.

To learn more about the interagency working group, contact Assistant Chief Counsel Rosalyn Steward at or 202-205-7013.

*Pub. L. No. 114-125, § 502, 130 Stat. 122 (2016); 15 U.S.C. § 634c.