Moniz & McLarty: 5 Ways to Modernize NAFTA by Focusing on Energy

EFI CEO Ernest J. Moniz teamed up with Thomas F. ''Mack'' McLarty III for an opinion piece in the Dallas Morning News on the importance of keeping energy at the forefront of the NAFTA renegotiations:

Surrounded by roaring crowds at his rallies, candidate Donald Trump assailed multilateral agreements and threatened to rip up NAFTA, characterizing it as "the worst trade deal ever." Indeed, Trump's suspicion of trade dates back to the 1980s when he first began to engage on the issue.

As president, he continues to be suspicious. On day three of his presidency, he withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (although he may be having second thoughts) and more recently slapped harsh tariffs on steel and aluminum imports — sparing Mexico and Canada only for now.

Despite the push to achieve an "agreement in principle" on the North American Free Trade Agreement for last week's Summit of the Americas, the temptation to withdraw remains. In a recent cabinet meeting, the president told reporters, "We are fairly close on NAFTA and if we don't make the right deal, we'll terminate NAFTA and we'll make the right deal after that."

We each learned firsthand that achieving international accords is never easy. As chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, one of us helped pass NAFTA 25 years ago. As secretary of energy under President Barack Obama, the other worked to deepen trilateral energy integration, frequently engaging our neighbors to the north and south on a wide range of energy issues.

We are confident that it's possible to reach the modernized NAFTA that the president promised, building on its foundations and expanding fair and reciprocal trade, with energy at the heart of these efforts.

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