The North American Free Trade Agreement, now under review by the Trump administration, will be the topic of a presentation by retired Ambassador Shaun Donnelly sponsored by the World Affairs Council Inland Southern California.

“NAFTA, Is It Good or Bad for America,” will be presented at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, June 22, at the UC Riverside Alumni and Visitor Center, 3701 Canyon Crest Drive in Riverside. Cost is $30 for World Affairs Council members and $40 for non-members for the talk and the reception with Donnelly at 5:30 p.m.; $25 for members and non-members for the talk only; students, with pre-registration, can attend the talk for free.

Registration may be done online on the event’s web page.

The World Affairs Council Inland Southern California is based at Cal State San Bernardino’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

International trade has become a hot political topic and populist issue not just in the United States, but worldwide as well. In North America, the focus has been on the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, which ties together the economies of the United States Canada and Mexico, and has been in effect since 1994. 

“Tariffs were eliminated progressively and all duties and quantitative restrictions, with the exception of those on a limited number of agricultural products traded with Canada, were eliminated by 2008,” according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Often speaking out against NAFTA during the 2016 presidential campaign, in May, then candidate Donald Trump declared his intention to open negotiations on the agreement, with the intent “to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow the U.S. economy by improving U.S. opportunities to trade with Canada and Mexico,” the USTR web page states.

Lost in the campaign rhetoric has been what NAFTA really does. The program with Donnelly, now vice president for U.S. Council for International Business, aims to address these issues:

  • Who are the winners and losers in the agreement?
  • What needs to be changed and what needs to be preserved?
  • What is at stake? 

Donnelly has more than 30 years experience with the U.S. Department of State in a wide range of roles including: principal deputy assistant secretary for economic and business affairs; U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka; deputy assistant secretary for international trade; deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia; and aU.S. trade representative for Europe and the Middle East.

The U.S. Council for International Business, where Donnelly now works, is an independent U.S. business advocacy group that promotes expansion of access for American products and services in markets around the world.

For more information on the program and on the World Affairs Council Inland Southern California, contact Margaret “Peg” Hill, program of the World Affairs Council Inland Southern California at (909) 537-5648.