Prospect of NAFTA rewrite gives US farmers a case of jitters
- Author: Leroy Wright May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 9:45
Sending the letter begins a 90-day period for the administration to develop its negotiating positions before negotiations with Canada and Mexico can officially begin. The National Foreign Trade Council, a pro-trade business group, echoed the sentiments of many economists in highlighting the benefits NAFTA has delivered to all the member nations, noting Canada and Mexico are the largest export markets for US goods. President Donald Trump said repeatedly on the campaign trail that the 23-year trade agreement has sent USA manufacturing jobs to Mexico and needs to be redone. That follows on the heels of disputes with Canada over lumber imports and dairy exports, and with Mexico over sugar imports, just a small sample of the many trade disputes announced in the last three months.
In his campaign for the White House, Donald Trump stressed the dangers of consistently running a trade deficit. "Central to any successful NAFTA negotiations will be changes to Canada's new policies created to harm bilateral trade and dump their structural dairy surplus on the world market".
In April, Trump spoke with both President Peña Nieto of Mexico and Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada and agreed to renegotiate rather than terminate the deal, saying that "the end result will make all three countries stronger and better".
Mr. Lighthizer said he hopes to preserve Nafta's existing structure but that numerous negotiations would be conducted bilaterally.
In January this year, Trump abandoned his country's involvement in the TPP, sparking more uncertainty for the future of NAFTA.
Some politicians and "experts" still don't understand - or don't want to understand - that a great deal of popular discontent in the United States, Mexico, and Canada alike is rooted in undemocratic policies that have produced inequality, unemployment, migration, food dependency, and pollution.
U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer has notified Congress of intent to renegotiate NAFTA.
"For example, digital trade was in infancy when NAFTA was enacted", Lighthizer wrote.
In the course the of more than 20 years since its signing, NAFTA has negatively impacted some parts of the country but it has also benefited others. When the rules are fair and the playing field is level, US agriculture will succeed and lead the world.
"We should build on what has worked in NAFTA but change and improve what has not", Lighthizer said. "Achieving this objective starts with ensuring the negotiations protect USA agriculture's benefits under the current trade agreement".
"We are at an important juncture that offers us an opportunity to determine how we can best align Nafta to new realities - and integrate progressive, free and fair approaches to trade and investment", she said.
Pacheco tells ABC-7 the 23-year contract between the U.S. Mexico and Canada could use some revamping.
"There will be no change in NAFTA, and there will be no stemming the loss of the U.S.jobs, unless this issue is of labor costs is fully addressed", he added.