Canada and Mexico React Cautiously to NAFTA Renegotiation

US launches 90-day countdown to Nafta revamp

US launches 90-day countdown to Nafta revamp

Today, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer notified Congress that President Trump intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA took on a starring role during the election campaign past year, with Trump promising voters to either throw it out or renegotiate a deal he claims sent millions of USA manufacturing jobs to Mexico. Companies could respond by transplanting factories to other low-wage countries like the Philippines.

Mexico and Canada signaled that they welcomed the opportunity to modernize the agreement. He cited concerns related to intellectual property rights, state-owned enterprises and customs procedures. Some also hold out hope that the author of "The Art of the Deal" will negotiate ways to improve NAFTA.

Washington is seeking to renegotiate NAFTA in order to bolster USA corporate interests through the adoption of protectionist and economic nationalist measures. But Trump and his administration officials, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who with Lighthizer is leading the charge on trade, have been critical of how NAFTA prompted auto and vehicle parts makers to establish plants in Mexico. USDEC accomplishes this through programs in market development that build global demand for USA dairy products, resolve market access barriers and advance industry trade policy goals. "We look forward to a constructive process to increase our economic cooperation".

Renegotiation talks will begin no earlier than Aug 16, he said in a statement.

"The CPC has authored comprehensive Principles for Trade, which lay out a clear vision for a for a 21st century trade system that puts working families, jobs, and the environment first".

Panelist Robert Johnston, CEO of Eurasia Group, said a renegotiation of NAFTA is going to take time. This administration can not rely on corporate advisors and lobbyists as past administrations have done. Yet many remain nervous about where Trump's trade policy will lead.

And Lighthizer's letter was vague, Wallach wrote, so it's hard to see what the administration's vision is today.

The vast majority of USA corporations are opposed to scrapping the deal. Exports and imports between the three countries have boomed since NAFTA became law in 1994. The letter to Congress is not almost as detailed as an earlier draft that was prepared before Lighthizer was confirmed. U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing has alleged that the Montreal-based firm's C-Series jets have breached anti-dumping laws.

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Earlier this month, Trudeau said his government would study the option of blocking USA companies from exporting thermal coal through the port of Vancouver, British Columbia. But he tweeted on April 27: "If we do not reach a fair deal for all, we will then terminate NAFTA".

Washington last month imposed tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber exports, triggering the fifth formal bilateral dispute over timber in less than 40 years. Mexico accounted for 29 percent of total corn exports of $987 million that same year.

Many farmers are still hopeful about the Trump administration.

The only sustainable way to make trade more balanced, Grimes believes, is slow-but-steady policies of encouraging Americans to save more money.

Lighthizer hinted Thursday that similar considerations were being weighed in Washington. "If that proves to be impossible, we will move in another direction".

Trump delivered another disappointment for USA farm groups in January by fulfilling a pledge to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the Obama administration negotiated with 11 Asia-Pacific countries. "Specifically, we hope that President Trump will take this chance to strike any provisions that may prevent the reestablishment of a Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL) program for USA beef products". "They must produce a rewritten NAFTA that puts working Americans ahead of corporations", she added.

NAFTA is a multi-layer free trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

"So much of the conversation in the campaign had been in Detroit or in Indiana" and focused on manufacturing jobs", said Kathy Baylis, an economist at the University of IL. The trade-union aligned New Democratic Party has just concluded a right-wing election campaign in British Columbia in which it advanced an economic protectionist programme to which Trump could have easily subscribed.

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