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USA launches NAFTA renegotiation countdown
20 May 2017, 09:27 | Terri Saunders
The United States officially served notice May 18 of its intention to renegotiate the agreement, triggering a 90-day consultation window before starting talks late this summer with Canada and Mexico.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally notified congressional leaders in a letter Thursday that the president intends to launch negotiations with Canada and Mexico "as soon as practicable".
The letter triggers a 90-day review process that's required before talks with Mexico and Canada begin over specific changes in the three-country trade deal.
Lighthizer's letter said the White House is looking to improve "U.S. opportunities" under NAFTA, adding that many chapters of the trade accord are "outdated and do not reflect modern standards".
"Today, President Trump fulfilled one of his key promises to the American people", Ambassador Lighthizer said. President Donald Trump said repeatedly on the campaign trail that the 23-year trade agreement has sent USA manufacturing jobs to Mexico and needs to be redone. To get a better deal for American workers, farmers and ranchers, and businesses. The agreement also encourages higher export volumes; according to the US Department of Commerce, Michigan - where the US auto industry is primarily concentrated - exported $23.5 billion in goods to Canada in 2015, and $11.7 billion in goods to Mexico. While the USA 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 US negotiator on the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
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Responding to a survey, 53% of readers said the renegotiation would negatively affect rights owners and 47% thought it would have positive consequences. Open trade is critical to ensuring North American consumers have access to fresh fruit and vegetables year-round, as well as ensuring growth and economic sustainability.
In the opinion of Merkley, "If Trump's wealthy and powerful friends dictate the terms of the renegotiation, NAFTA could easily become worse, not better, for working Americans".
Trump has repeatedly called NAFTA unfair to the USA and a "terrible" deal.
During his campaign, Pres. Trump vowed to scrap NAFTA altogether, reiterating that it was a disaster for U.S. workers. Lighthizer says that NAFTA could be renegotiated by the end of the year. "Since NAFTA was implemented, USA agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have tripled and quintupled, respectively". NAFTA had widened access to Mexican and Canadian markets, boosting USA farm exports and benefiting many farmers.
"For those of us who believe that USA trade policy and Nafta need fundamental reform, this notice is very disappointing", said Rep. Richard Neal of MA and Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, two Democrats on Mr. Brady's committee, explaining they don't think potential policy changes will go far enough. Previous year the USA sold $2.6 billion worth of corn to Mexico. The agreement eliminated numerous tariffs on trade between the US, Canada and Mexico.
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