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Chamber Supports NAFTANEXT Conference

Chamber Supports NAFTANEXT Conference

Later this month the NAFTANEXT Summit will be taking place in Chicago. The Infrastructure, Energy, and International Councils have been working with Jeff Agnew and Leslie Blakey, the organizers of the NAFTANEXT Summit to highlight Illinois’ as the center of our nation’s freight network and build awareness of this event.

Below is a guest post by Jeff & Leslie discussing NAFTANEXT in more detail. Take a look at what they have to say and check out the full agenda to register and see what interests you.

On February 19, leaders from the United States, Mexico and Canada gathered in Toluca, Mexico to mark the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and discuss the future of North American commerce and cooperation. President Obama, Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Harper shared their vision for a prosperous and secure future for the citizens of all three countries and their commitment to enhance North American competitiveness in the global economy. Coming on the heels of this landmark meeting, the NAFTANEXT Summit at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago this April 22-25 will complement the North American Leaders Summit by providing a private industry-led forum for considering a North American goods movement initiative and how future trade agreements, such as TPP, can add to the progress made in the tri-lateral discussions.

At the North American Leaders Summit, a focused list of “key deliverables” designed to build on the successes of the NAFTA agreement was developed. Among these commitments was a pledge to create a “North American Transportation Plan, starting with freight planning.” The NAFTANEXT summit will inform the NAFTA transportation planning process while highlighting the need for infrastructure investment from the perspective of industry stakeholders. These discussions will seek to build consensus on how best to further integrate the NAFTA economies and facilitate the efficient movement of goods throughout the continent. Leading off in these conversations will be Honorary Summit Chairman Rodney Slater, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and steward of the U.S. Department of Transportation during the early implementation of NAFTA.

The exploration of North America’s vast energy reserves has spurred a resurgence in energy development throughout the continent. NAFTANEXT will discuss the effect of this energy revolution on the NAFTA supply chains and the need to examine our related transportation systems and reaffirm commitments to the promotion of sustainable practices. Achieving greater fuel efficiency, while meeting the demands of commerce, has long been a goal for transport services providers. But the new energy landscape is having other effects: The increased availability of low-cost source chemicals, massive by-products of the refining process, is offering incentive for manufacturers to shorten their supply chains, which will place new demands on the need for rail and trucking to move more products domestically and on our ports for shipping exports abroad.  Representatives from industry and the three NAFTA governments will share their experience and strategies in adapting to these changing realities.

NAFTANEXT will build on the successes of NAFTA to craft a vision for trade and competitiveness in the 21st century. Ideas taken from the summit will drive industry and policy leaders to collaborate on the modernization of trade to meet the evolving demands of commerce, energy and freight mobility. To learn more about NAFTANEXT and to register for the summit, please visit

Leslie Blakey

Executive Director

Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors


Jeff Agnew

Communications Director

Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors


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About The Author

Executive Director, Infrastructure Council

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