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Making NAFTA Work for U.S. Small- and Medium-Sized Business

NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico are the top two destinations for American exports from small- and medium-sized businesses, and every day the NAFTA countries conduct nearly $2.6 billion in trilateral trade. The U.S. is working with our NAFTA partners to make it even easier for U.S. small- and medium-sized manufacturers and services providers to take advantage of the NAFTA and export to Canadian and Mexican customers, thus supporting jobs at home. Results achieved in 2010 include:

  • Mexico will now recognize certain U.S. standards for electrical and electronic goods. Mexico’s recognition of the equivalence of these standards will allow U.S. companies to test products at home and then export them directly to Mexico without having to test them again in Mexico. This cuts red tape and can be a significant cost savings for U.S. small- and medium-sized manufacturers. As noted by the U.S. International Trade Commission study on small- and medium-sized businesses, electrical products are one of the principal U.S. exports from small- and medium-sized businesses to Canada and Mexico.

  • The U.S. and Mexico agreed to establish procedures for accepting results from testing facilities in the territory of another NAFTA country for use in the conformity assessment of telecommunications equipment. This will allow a manufacturer to test a product only once and then have the test results accepted in other NAFTA countries. This can particularly save costs for smaller manufacturers.

  • The U.S. welcomed the renewal of a recognition agreement among the accountants of Mexico, Canada and the United States. This recognition of accreditation makes it easier for U.S. accountants to offer their professional services to customers in Mexico and Canada. This will increase export sales and customer base as well as support good jobs. We encourage other professions to undertake similar efforts to create new trade opportunities in professional services. As noted by the U.S. International Trade Commission study, U.S. small- and medium-sized businesses identified recognition of certifications as an important export opportunity associated with trade agreements.

  • One of the main challenges that small- and medium-sized businesses face is access to information. To address this the U.S. and its NAFTA partners released “Opportunities for Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises in North America,” a publication designed to answer fundamental questions about starting to export in North America. This document is available here.