World

US Strikes Gentler Tone on Nafta as Countdown to Talks Begins

US Strikes Gentler Tone on Nafta as Countdown to Talks Begins

On Thursday, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer sent a letter to lawmakers, giving Congress a 90-day consultation period before renegotiations are initiated on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This move is being made in efforts to support higher-paying jobs in the USA, grow the company, and update the Agreement to reflect changes that have occurred since its inception 25 years ago.

"We should build on what has worked in NAFTA but change and improve what has not", Lighthizer said.

He added that the agreement was outdated and did not reflect modern standards. He also cited digital trade, describing it as "in its infancy when NAFTA was enacted". In addition, and consistent with the negotiation objectives in the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act, our aim is that NAFTA be modernized.

The president has vowed to negotiate a better NAFTA - or to walk away from the agreement if he can't get one. "This is our position", he said, arguing that continent-wide supply chains should make North America the most competitive region in the world.

On top of that list is motor vehicles, which trade data show both Mexico and Canada running surpluses with the United States.

Mr. Lighthizer said he hopes to preserve Nafta's existing structure but that numerous negotiations would be conducted bilaterally. Lighthizer told reporters that he hopes negotiations will be completed by the end of 2017, according to Reuters.

The decision to start the 90-day clock to begin negotiations over the deal marks the third time that the President has made a contentious announcement ahead of discussions between the USA and Mexico. "The whole energy sector has changed and the way we do business has too so I'm not averse to any of that", Pacheco said.




A Canadian source close to the lumber negotiations said it was unlikely an agreement could be reached by mid-August, however.

She reiterated the government's key message on NAFTA - that it is in fact a good deal for all parties, including the US, where nine million American jobs are dependent on it.

NAFTA did lead some American manufacturers to move factories and jobs to Mexico.

The split in Congress - which must approve any major overhaul of Nafta - mirrors a division in the Trump administration between traditional business-friendly Republicans and the economic nationalists who frequently join with liberals in calling for measures at the border to protect American workers from unfair competition. "However, there were worker and firm adjustment costs as the three countries adjusted to more open trade and investment", the report continued. In April, Trump said he would not pull out of NAFTA for the time being, but could still withdraw if he concludes a renegotiated pact is not "a fair deal for all".

The trade deal, signed in 1992 and put into effect in 1994, became one of the defining issues of the 2016 presidential campaign, especially in MI. The agreement eliminated numerous tariffs on trade between the US, Canada and Mexico.

On a scale of one to 10, though, we're still in the early days.


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