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U.S. life insurers are trying to defend the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA).

The American Council of Life Insurers has joined with six other North American insurance trade groups to express support for NAFTA.

NAFTA, which came into force in 1994, reduced or eliminated many of the barriers that had previously separated the economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The ACLI and the six other North American insurance groups say NAFTA has improved consumers’ access to insurance products, by eliminating national insurance carrier ownership restrictions, and by encouraging NAFTA-region governments to provide fair treatment for insurers in the region when buying insurance.

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When negotiators work on updating NAFTA, the top priority should be preserving the existing agreement provisions, the insurance groups say in their statement.

The groups say they would also like to see negotiators talk about investor protection rules and consumer information protection rules.

“It is essential that a modernized NAFTA contain strong investor protections, provide insurers with access to the full range of dispute settlement procedures, and introduce strong commitments on cross-border data flows and prohibitions on forced data localization for financial services providers, as long as data protection is guaranteed,” the groups say.

In addition to the ACLI, the list of groups that backs the statement includes the American Insurance Association, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the Mexican Association of Insurance Companies, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, and the Reinsurance Association of America.

— Read ACLI Hopes for Movement on Koreaon ThinkAdvisor.

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