Trump pulls trigger for NAFTA talks

WASHINGTON-The Trump administration has written to Congress telling legislators of its plan to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. While the USA goal of reaching a new deal this year is ambitious, it's not unrealistic if it doesn't seek to radically change NAFTA, said Cutler, who served as senior US negotiator on the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Canada and the United States are unlikely to strike a deal on a dispute over lumber exports by the time talks on renewing NAFTA start in mid-August, a source close to the matter said on Thursday. "We ask the United States Trade Representative to submit detailed objectives of these negotiations in a timely manner, and we expect an open and transparent negotiation process - not one written behind closed doors by multi-national corporations". The deal underpins more than $1 trillion of trilateral trade.

That combative posture was underscored when the Commerce Department followed the news with the announcement of a new trade investigation against aircraft produced by Nafta partner Canada, saying it received unfair subsidies.

Lighthizer said he hopes the negotiations will be completed by the end of 2017, but that Trump "wants this done as quickly as possible".

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letter sent today to Congress, Ambassador Lighthizer outlined some of the areas of the agreement that are either outdated or missing - several of which are important to the US dairy industry - and reaffirmed commitment to pursuing the trade priorities outlined by TPA, including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.

America's NAFTA partners welcomed the strategy of modernizing rather than scrapping the trade pact.

"The letter to Congress has a more conciliatory tone", said Gabriela Cuevas, the head of Mexico's Senate foreign relations committee and a member of the opposition National Action Party.

"In our view NAFTA is an agreement that doesn't just serve Canada and Mexico, but also the United States", he said at a news conference with his Mexican counterpart Luis Videgaray.

The highly integrated nature of the North American supply chain presents a major obstacle to unwinding the agreement. Mexico and Canada are two of our largest export markets for the commodities and products raised on USA farms and ranches. "You would strand a lot of USA company investments". That means no import tax, no raised tariffs and no trade war.

"Canada and Mexico are top pork export markets. For years, politicians have called for the renegotiation of this agreement, but President Trump is the first to follow through with that promise", Lighthizer said in the release.

Trump has labeled NAFTA the worst trade deal in history.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. "We have to wait and see how things unfold once we get to the negotiating table".

  • Leroy Wright