Trump administration reportedly seeks modest changes to NAFTA

This could allow for Trump's "Buy American" plan, but also cause USA companies to lose business in Mexico and Canada.

The approaching negotiations come at a tense time between the US and Mexico, whose president, Enrique Pena Nieto, canceled a visit to Washington in January after Trump doubled down on promises to make the country pay for a border wall.

According to the CEPR, Mexican poverty has risen since the deal's implementation in 1994 as economic growth and real wages stagnated while almost five million family farmers were displaced, propelling Mexico's poor toward migration to the United States - crucial drivers of social instability and unrest.

"The persistent USA deficit in goods trade with Canada and Mexico demands that this administration take swift action to revise the relationship and respond to 21st century challenges", Vaughn wrote in a March 22 draft letter shared with key members of Congress and obtained by Bloomberg News.

But not everyone viewed the draft letter as protecting workers.

If it represents the president's plan for a revamped NAFTA, she said, "he will have broken his campaign promises to make NAFTA better for working Americans and have a deal that can not get a majority in Congress".

"We are committed to concluding these negotiations with timely and substantive results for USA workers, consumers, businesses, farmers, and ranchers, keeping in mind USA priorities and negotiating objectives", the draft letter says. "But it does have the potential of being an umbrella for very hard-hitting demands". He's blamed Mexico and China for stealing U.S.jobs.

At first glance, the administration's plan looks like more than just a tweak to NAFTA, but will not come close to blowing up the system (as it sometimes sounded like during the campaign).

Mexico is mulling over writing new trade agreements that offer Brazil and Argentina duty-free access to the Mexican market for corn.

The vague draft may reflect a Trump administration still figuring out its trade priorities.

There is Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a billionaire investor whom Trump has hailed as a "killer" negotiator.

  • Larry Hoffman