Trump sets plan to renegotiate NAFTA, local lawmakers keeping watch

"That's why I can not process this.' Which is exactly the sort of argument that the US has always used when Mexico has asked the USA for concessions", de la Calle said.

"We understand that this is a 25-year-old agreement, when it was negotiated".

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross meanwhile said with the NAFTA announcement "we intend to notify not just Congress, but all our trading partners, that free and fair trade is the new standard for US trade deals". "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.

Meanwhile, the letter he sent to lawmakers to kickstart consultations omitted numerous thorny points cited in an earlier draft, such as leveling the playing field on tax treatment and bulking up "Buy America" procurement provisions-goals that might meet stiff resistance from Canada and Mexico.

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

Agricultural groups overall are optimistic that "modernizing" NAFTA will result in a better deal for farmers and ranchers.

Donald Trump has put in motion the process to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. TPP's objective was precisely to establish a modern approach to free trade by encompassing new products and services - sectors in which the USA has most to gain - and by making labor and environmental standards easier to enforce.

Trump called the treaty a "disaster" throughout his election campaign and threatened to withdraw from the agreement if renegotiated terms weren't favourable enough.

The 90-day period would end August 16, 2017.

In his letter to congressional leaders, Lighthizer said Nafta needs modernisation for provisions on digital trade, intellectual property rights, labour and environmental standards, regulatory practices, rules for state-owned enterprises and food-safety standards.

"NAFTA's track record is one of economic growth and middle-class job creation, both here in Canada and throughout North America", she said.

"Eliminating loopholes that shift production to third-party countries like China and devoting more customs enforcement resources to stop illegal third-country transshipments are two changes that would make the agreement better", he added. The Mexican official said he welcomed the opportunity to update the agreement, but insisted it must remain trilateral.

"If the Americans want to talk about NAFTA, I'm more than happy to talk about it", he said in November.

The premier says the government is working in Washington and in state capitals across the US to address issues that could affect Ontario-US trade and ensure the province's interests are represented. When the rules are fair and the playing field is level, US agriculture will succeed and lead the world.

  • Leroy Wright