Trump administration launches NAFTA renegotiation process

Cheryl Sanders
May 31, 2017

United Fresh Produce Association issued a statement emphasizing the importance of trade to the produce industry and noted it looks forward to working with the relevant parties to identify ways NAFTA can be updated to better serve the industry. The dairy groups have also continued to call for improving market access to Canada and tackling that country's expanding list of protectionist policies and other barriers to US dairy exports.

"If I'm unable to make a fair deal, if I'm unable to make a fair deal for the United States, meaning a fair deal for our workers and our companies, I will terminate NAFTA", Trump said on April 27 in remarks during a meeting with the president of Argentina. President Donald Trump has called NAFTA a "disaster" that has wiped out American factory jobs.

In the letter to Congress, Ambassador Lighthizer expresses the Trump Administration's commitment to concluding the negotiations with timely and substantive results for USA consumers, businesses, farmers, ranchers, and workers.


"There is no question that NAFTA has been tremendously successful for American workers, farmers, and businesses", Kevin Brady, a Republican congressman from Texas, said in a statement.

He added: "NAFTA was negotiated 25 years ago, and while our economy and businesses have changed considerably over that period, NAFTA has not".

As the administration took its first formal step towards Nafta renegotiations, the US Commerce Department launched an investigation on Thursday into Boeing's anti-dumping claims against Canadian rival Bombardier's new CSeries jetliners, drawing a threat from Canada to review a deal to buy Boeing fighter jets. He promised a very aggressive negotiating schedule to conclude the talks as quickly as possible.


At a news conference Thursday at the State Department with Mexican officials and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other USA officials, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said Mexico "welcomes" the renegotiation of NAFTA. "We can do constructive work together", she said, bringing them up to the 21st century standards Canadians expect. "NAFTA is a trilateral agreement and the conversations need to be trilateral in nature". We have learned a lot and we can make it better. We can not allow this to be yet another trade deal written by corporations and special interests. But in an earlier statement she stressed that many United States jobs depend on NAFTA which has created growth throughout the region. Because this is what allows us to maximize the competitive potential of the region that should be the most competitive one in the world, North America, " Videgaray said. Trade from NAFTA supports more than 1.5 million Texas jobs.

Recently confirmed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer sent the letter to lawmakers, starting the clock so the U.S. can officially start renegotiating the treaty as early as mid-August. But the administration so far hasn't said what changes it is proposing to bring those jobs back, and Thursday's letter provided no clues.

The White House formally started the countdown to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by sending notification to Congress.


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