North American steel producers welcomed the announcement in Cancun last week by the three NAFTA leaders that they plan to create a North American Manufacturing Competitiveness Council. The NAFTA Leaders' Summit included Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Vincente Fox.
The new Council is to include executives from the automotive, steel and manufacturing industries of all three NAFTA countries. In the 2005 Security & Prosperity Partnership (SPP) Report to Leaders, NAFTA Ministers labeled steel a "strategic" industry.
"North American steel producers look forward to exploring with NAFTA governments, on a consensus basis, ways to further the competitiveness of the NAFTA manufacturing industry," said Octavio Rangel Frausto, general director of the Mexican Steel Producers Association (CANACERO).
"North America's steel producers support government policies to ensure market-based competition," said Thomas A. Danjczek, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA). "The Council should encourage NAFTA governments to work together to address imbalances that have the potential to reduce the competitiveness of manufacturing industries in North America."
"This should allow us to engage with other manufacturing industries to preserve and strengthen the North American manufacturing base," said Barry Lacombe, President of the Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA). "We need to understand and address the competitiveness challenges posed by China, India and other emerging markets, and develop cross-border pro-manufacturing policies to ensure dependable and cost-competitive policies for North American producers of steel and other manufactured goods."
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