Trump Sends Nafta Renegotiation Notice to Congress

"There is no question that Nafta has been tremendously successful", said Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees trade.

U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer sent a letter to congressional leaders Thursday, starting 90 days of consultations with lawmakers over how to revamp the pact.

But many Democrats say they will try to hold the administration to its promises on labor and environmental standards, a ban on currency manipulation and novel rules to bring back manufacturing jobs.

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 U.S. entirely from the agreement. Mexico would also likely oppose efforts to compensate US producers for Mexico's value-added tax, which refunds taxes charged on inputs used to produce exported goods. During the campaign, Trump vowed to withdraw from NAFTA, saying it was a disaster for US workers. While the US 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 USA negotiator on the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. The announcement came as Mexico's Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray was meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington. "United Fresh will work to ensure that changes to NAFTA reflect those principles".

He said he hoped to maintain the current trilateral format of Nafta, but noted that many of Nafta's problems are bilateral issues that need to be worked out with either Mexico or Canada.

A Canadian source close to the lumber negotiations said it was unlikely an agreement could be reached by mid-August, however.

The highly integrated nature of the North American supply chain presents a major obstacle to unwinding the agreement.

Freeland also stated before the Canadian Parliament that in the next months, the three member countries of NAFTA (Mexico, US and Canada) will take part in formal dialogues on the topic, taking into account the intention of US President Donald Trump to check it out. She defended the trade deal, which has been updated 11 times, but stressed that Canada will seek to get the best deal for its citizens. "NAFTA's track record is one of economic growth and middle-class job creation, both here in Canada and throughout North America", she said. Nowhere is the importance of trade stronger than right here in North America. As President Trump moves forward with renegotiating with Canada and Mexico, I am confident this will result in a better deal for our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers.

"Given that the agreement is more than two decades old, there are areas in which NAFTA will benefit from strengthening and modernization", the letter states.

  • Zachary Reyes