Skip to main content

Lawrence Tech President's Symposium to tackle thorny issues of NAFTA, free trade

Release Date: September 2, 2016

International trade has emerged as a major issue in the 2016 presidential campaign, so it couldn’t be more timely that the North American Free Trade Agreement is the topic of Lawrence Technological University’s annual President’s Symposium Wednesday, Sept. 21.

"NAFTA Revisited: The Way Forward In the 21st Century Global Economy,” will review the dramatic changes in the global economy since NAFTA took effect in 1994. Technology, global trade and investment, and immigration have accelerated at an unprecedented pace. Global demographics have changed dramatically. China is a major player in the global economy, and environmental issues are now global. These profound changes and the resulting economic, political and cultural interdependencies among nations provide the backdrop for revisiting NAFTA.

This year’s symposium will be moderated by Thomas Marx, University Professor and Director of the Senior Service College Fellowship Program and Center for Leadership at LTU.

Panelists are to include:

  • Edward Alden, Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, the Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, D.C.
  • Douglas George, Consul General of Canada in Detroit
  • Juan Manuel Solana Morales, Consul of Mexico in Detroit
  • Paul Traub, senior business economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Detroit Branch

The panel will assess the impacts of NAFTA on trade and investment flows, employment, incomes, living standards, the environment, and on workers’ rights, health, and safety. Most importantly for charting the path forward, they will discuss what worked well and not so well. The panel will discuss how the lessons learned from NAFTA can inform future trade and economic policies that contribute to economic growth, rising productivity, employment, and incomes, and to higher living standards around the world.

AldenAlden is both the Schwartz senior fellow at CFR, specializing in U.S. economic competitiveness, and director of the CFR Renewing America publication series. The former Washington bureau chief of the Financial Times, his work focuses on immigration and visa policy, and on U.S. trade and international economic policy. Alden is the author of the book The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration, and Security Since 9/11 (HarperCollins), which was named a 2009 finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for nonfiction writing. His forthcoming book, Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy, and How to Get Ahead, focuses on the federal government’s failure to respond effectively to the competitive challenges on issues as trade, currency, worker re-training, education, infrastructure and support for innovation. The winner of numerous national and international journalism and academic awards, including a MacArthur Foundation graduate fellowship, Alden holds a master's degree in international relations from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of British Columbia.

CURRENT PHOTO - Douglas GeorgeGeorge is a career diplomat with more than 30 years of experience, and before taking his position in Detroit was Canada’s Ambassador to Kuwait. He is responsible for Canadian affairs in the states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Recognized as a trade policy expert, George has worked in numerous economic posts at Global Affairs Canada, including the Commercial Policy Division, the GATT Division, and the U.S. Trade and Economic Policy Division. He served as senior departmental advisor to Canada’s Minister of International Trade as well as director of the Softwood Lumber Division, the Intellectual Property Policy Division, and the Tariffs and Goods Market Access Division. Abroad, George has directed trade policy issues at the Canadian Mission to the European Union in Brussels, as well as serving as a negotiator at the Canadian Mission to the GATT/World Trade Organization in Geneva. He also served in Kingston, Jamaica. George earned a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

foto Consul  SolanaSolana has been Consul of Mexico in Detroit since September 2013. Previously, he was consul in Indianapolis, Albuquerque, N.M. and Houston, Texas. Before his government service, he had eight years of experience in the financial sector, working with Banco Mexicano Somex, Nacional Financiera and the Negocentros Project for the Mexican Small Business Administration System. As an entrepreneur, Solana owned businesses in the retail, restaurant and consulting services sectors. He is a graduate of the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, where he later taught for nine years, and continued graduate studies at the National College of Economy, specializing in econometrics, finance and strategic planning.

PMTraub-photoAt the Detroit Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Traub’s responsibilities include both research and current analysis. Prior to joining the economic research department of the Chicago Fed, Traub was the president of Scenario Economics LLC and senior economist for Americas Commercial Transportation Research Co. LLC (ACT Research). He retired in 2008 from the position of corporate economist with 25 years of service at Chrysler LLC. He worked in Chrysler’s corporate economist office for more than 17 of those years, where his responsibilities included tracking the economy and forecasting its impact on North American auto sales; supporting new product development; and speaking to auto dealers and numerous professional organizations. He has spoken widely on economic topics, is a board member of the Detroit Association of Business Economists, and is on the advisory board for LTU’s College of Management. He holds a B.B.A. from the University of Michigan - Dearborn and an M.B.A. from Oakland University.