PaperAge Magazine

AF&PA Underscores Need to Retain Investor Protections in North American Free Trade Agreement

Donna Harman "NAFTA countries account for 45% of forest products industry total exports, making them a hugely important market for our industry." – Donna Harman, President and CEO, AF&PA.

Sept. 25, 2017 (Press Release) - American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Donna Harman [on Sept. 22] joined fellow business leaders to underscore the importance of retaining investor protections ahead of the upcoming round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) hosted a press briefing where Harman and other participants focused on the need to retain investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) as NAFTA is renegotiated with Canada and Mexico. Harman issued the following statement:

“NAFTA countries account for 45% of forest products industry total exports, making them a hugely important market for our industry. Our interconnected supply chain benefits U.S. consumers and rural and urban communities across the country where our industry's directly employs 900,000 men and women. That's why it's critical to maintain and expand robust market access and investment protections as NAFTA is renegotiated with Mexico and Canada.

“ISDS is a strong trade enforcement mechanism that ensures U.S.-owned assets aren't subject to unfair government investment practices by our trade partners. It is an essential part of a new and improved NAFTA for the future.

“Here's an example why. One of our members faced expropriation of assets by a Canadian provincial government action. The company was able to use the NAFTA ISDS provision to challenge the expropriation of its property to reach a $130 million settlement with Canada in 2010. Without ISDS, the government in Canada would have taken the asset without any compensation to the U.S.-based company.

“Some of our members also export paper packaging materials from their U.S. mills to converting plants in Mexico where they manufacture corrugated shipping containers. They do this to be close to their converting facilities, which serve local customers in the produce industry and other manufactured products.

“We, along with others, have made the case that ISDS must remain in NAFTA to the U.S. Trade Representative, other Cabinet officials and Members of Congress. And we will continue to speak in that unified voice.”

Participating in the event with Harman were: Jack Gerard, API President and CEO; Cal Dooley, American Chemistry Council President and CEO; Kenneth Bentsen, Jr., Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association President and CEO; Linda Dempsey, National Association of Manufacturers Vice President, Supply Chain and Customs Policy; and Rob Mulligan, US Council for International Business Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs.

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance a sustainable U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, and wood products manufacturing industry through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. AF&PA member companies make products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry's sustainability initiative — Better Practices, Better Planet 2020.

The forest products industry accounts for approximately 4 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures approximately $200 billion in products annually, and employs nearly 900,000 men and women. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states. Visit AF&PA online at or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.