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The military leaders assure that the NAFTA trade agreement with Mexico and Canada is at the heart of the strategy against organized crime and terrorism

The free trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico is much more than an agreement between the three North American countries: it is a fundamental pillar of the national security of the greatest power in the world. 

10 commanders of the North Command and the Southern Command of the United States, in a letter addressed to President Donald Trump, asking him not only not to cancel it, but to reinforce it.

“Without NAFTA, cooperation with North American neighbours will likely, weaken our ability to confront security challenges,” the commanders say in the document sent to the White House.

Four were commanders from the Northern Command and six from the Southern Command, the two command centers used by the Pentagon to design and execute the country’s military defense operations. Among the signatories are Generals Bantz Craddock and Douglas Fraser and Admirals William Gortney, Tomthy Keating and James Winnefeld.

The agreement was designed to increase exchanges and investments between the three partners. 

The opening of the market, opened a path for the development of Mexico and, in that aspect, they affirm, “it was a success”. But if the pact is broken, they warn, competitiveness and the growth potential of the United States will be reduced, which will penalize the economy.

Former commanders affirm, thus, that the FTA supports “directly” the two objectives of a safe and economically vibrant country that guides the agenda of President Trump. “We encourage you to strengthen the commitment of the US with this agreement,” they ask, while pointing out that the effective achievement of these interests “depend on the partnership with the countries with which we share a border.”

Trusted framework

The command centers led by the ten signatories are key players in efforts to combat illegal immigration, organized crime and drug trafficking. 

They are also fundamental in the American framework for the fight against terrorism. Northcom is in charge of US, Canada and Mexico, while the Southcom is monitoring Central and South America along the Caribbean.

The commanders emphasize that this establishes a “trust framework” to cooperate in these areas. “Before criminal and terrorist networks that operate beyond the borders of any country, a regional response is required,” they affirm in the letter, “re-committing to NAFTA will reassure Canada and Mexico, and also our global allies, that they can continue to depend on US commitments. “

At this point, they need to watch for an increasingly powerful China, an argument shared by many international trade specialists. For all these reasons, the former military leaders of Northcom and Southcom insist that the FTA is “far more than a commercial agreement”. 

“It is a central aspect of national security,” they affirm, while asking Trump, “respectfully,” to guarantee its permanence “as part of the strategic arsenal of the United States” in the future.

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