Fischer, Flake lead congressional call for support of NAFTA

US President Donald Trump has put the wheels in motion on a major trade shake-up, after his administration triggered the renegotiation of the North-American Free Trade Agreement on Thursday. He added that he hopes to complete negotiations by the end of 2017. Trade across the NAFTA countries serves both consumers and deeply connected supply chains, providing significant jobs not only in agriculture but in processing and distribution. "For years, politicians have called for the renegotiation of this agreement, but President Trump is the first to follow through with that promise", said ambassador Lighthizer.

In a notification letter sent today to Congress, Ambassador Lighthizer outlined some of the areas of the agreement that are either outdated or missing - several of which are important to the USA dairy industry - and reaffirmed commitment to pursuing the trade priorities outlined by TPA, including goals related to market access and curbing the abuse of geographical indications.

In the letter to Congress, Lighthizer expressed the Trump Administration's "commitment to concluding the negotiations with timely and substantive results for United States consumers, businesses, farmers, ranchers, and workers".

On Thursday, Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to discuss US-Mexico relations. The world has changed, we've learned a lot, and we can make it better. Mexico, which imported $17.9 billion in US food, was the third-largest market.

Supporters said the agreement would promote trade and create jobs across a North American single market. But in an earlier statement she stressed that many U.S. jobs depend on NAFTA which has created growth throughout the region.

Canada has indicated that it is open to renegotiations, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowing to work closely with the new U.S. president on the trade deal.

It's time to replace NAFTA, not to renegotiate it with the same corporate-friendly premises of the TPP. Lighthizer said he did not think a new threat to withdraw from Nafta would be necessary.

The trade deal, which also includes Mexico and Canada, was heavily criticised by Trump during his successful election campaign in 2016 as he promised to withdraw the USA entirely from the agreement.

"NAFTA's track record is one of economic growth and middle-class job creation, both here in Canada and throughout North America". "If that proves to be impossible, then we'll move in a different direction", he said, not ruling out changes to Nafta's structure.

Dingell was critical of the vagueness of the Trump administration's letter to Congress: "We can not have another trade deal negotiated in secret", she said, adding that she plans to introduce legislation requiring trade deal negotiation transparency.

A Canadian source close to the lumber negotiations said it was unlikely an agreement could be reached by mid-August, however. Next week USTR will publish in the Federal Register a notice requesting public input on the direction, focus and content on the NAFTA negotiations.

  • Leroy Wright