Tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Cisco are spending more on lobbyists to make their case about the North American Free Trade Agreement, as negotiations about the future of that trade deal heat up.
Trade negotiators have said that they will schedule talks on revamping NAFTA into next year. The tech industry has a clear interest in the trade pact, given its role in foreign trade and in supply chains across North America.
In 2016, U.S. companies exported more than $200 billion in technology goods, including $43 billion to Mexico and $24 billion to Canada, according to the Information Technology Industry Council, a lobbying group whose members include Apple, Alphabet and Oracle. U.S tech exports to Mexico have surged nearly 70 percent since 2006.
President Donald Trump has called NAFTA “the worst trade deal ever made” that cost the country manufacturing jobs. Those representing tech companies counter that a barrier-free trading environment benefits U.S. companies, and that the agreement should be modernized to include key policy provisions regarding data storage and tariffs.
In the second quarter of this year, 28 technology companies and industry associations hired lobbyists to discuss NAFTA with Trump administration officials or with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. That compares with 12 in the first quarter — and just one in all of last year.
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