Trump triggers NAFTA renegotiation

Trump's message that NAFTA was a job-killing disaster had never resonated much in rural America.

The Canadian and Mexican governments are prepared for NAFTA renegotiation discussions.

There were reports in April that Trump was considering an executive order to withdraw the usa from NAFTA.

National Corn Growers Association President Wesley Spurlock urged Lighthizer to remember the interests of USA agriculture as they begin modernizing the agreement.

Within hours, Trump softened his stance.

With a letter to US lawmakers on Thursday, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer triggered a 90-day consultation period with Congress, and representatives of industries to renegotiate NAFTA - one of the world's biggest trading blocs.

Freeland was the first foreign official Lighthizer met earlier this week.

"With this letter, we intend to notify not just Congress, but all our trading partners, that free and fair trade is the new standard for USA trade deals".

Reacting to the announcement, NCTO president and CEO Auggie Tantillo said, "The US textile industry welcomes President Trump's decision to renegotiate NAFTA... We export billions of dollars of corn and corn products to these countries each year".

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.

He added that the agreement was outdated and did not reflect modern standards.

But it's not just US farm groups asking the Trump administration to protect agricultural trade during renegotiations.

NAFTA did lead some American manufacturers to move factories and jobs to Mexico. In 2016, the USA had exported $231 billion in goods to Mexico (a 455 percent increase) and imported $294.2 billion (up 637 percent). When the rules are fair and the playing field is level, USA agriculture will succeed and lead the world.

USTR will publish a notice in the Federal Register requesting public input on the direction, focus, and content of the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

In 2016, Mexico purchased 30% of all Kansas agricultural exports.

UPA senior vice-president of public policy Robert Guenther said: "The fruit and vegetable industry is highly dependent on worldwide trade, both exports from the United States and imports from critical trading partners such as Mexico and Canada".

Trump officials haven't yet been specific about what they want to change in the deal. Our members have stood in historic opposition to this broken trade pact in part due to bad provisions such as cross-border long-haul trucking language that jeopardizes highway safety and threatens the environment in this country.

The president, whose campaign trail vows to tear up Nafta appealed to his base of disaffected working-class voters aggrieved by globalization, is under mounting pressure to follow through on his pledge.

  • Zachary Reyes