Trump administration launches NAFTA renegotiation process
Washington (AFP) – US President Donald Trump’s administration formally notified Congress on Wednesday of its intent to renegotiate the three-nation North American Free Trade Agreement.
The talks with Canada and Mexico will begin “no earlier than August 16, 2017,” US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.
During the 90-day countdown, USTR will consult with “Congress and American stakeholders to create an agreement that advances the interests of America’s workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses,” he said.
Lighthizer said reforming the trade agreement, which Trump vowed to scrap altogether during his presidential campaign, fulfills a key promise to voters.
Trump’s charge that NAFTA and trade deals generally had cost American jobs gained him support among working class voters, who helped lift him to the White House.
Canadian and Mexican officials have urged Washington to renegotiate and modernize — rather than scrap — the trade pact, which has boosted industry and created tight manufacturing and business links throughout the region.
In the formal notification to Congress, Lighthizer said NAFTA had not kept up with changes in the economy and business over the last 25 years, including the boom in e-commerce.
“Many chapters are outdated and do not reflect modern standards,” Lighthizer said.
The administration will aim to improve “effective implementation and aggressive enforcement” of NAFTA commitments, as well as introduce additional provisions to address intellectual property rights, regulation, services, labor, environment and other issues.
“The United States seeks to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow the US economy by improving US opportunities under NAFTA,” he said.