Thursday, May 18, 2017

U.S.: Trump Administration triggers NAFTA renegotiation process

The ball is now rolling on U.S. President Donald Trump’s much publicized plan to renegotiate an “America First” North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), following an official notification to Congress from U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer. In an interview with The Economist last week, Trump said he had been ready to withdraw from the agreement completely before receiving calls from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto asking for negotiation. “We have a problem because we have a ridiculous provision in NAFTA that we have, you know, to go on the fast track. Fast track is the slowest track I’ve ever seen,” Trump was quoted as saying. He also told the publication “big” was not a good enough word to describe the extent of renegotiation planned, opting for “massive” instead. After months of criticism over trade deficits under the NAFTA arrangement, today the USTR emphasized it sought to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and grow the economy by improving U.S. opportunities to trade with Canada and Mexico. In the letter to Congress, Ambassador Lighthizer expressed the Administration’s commitment to concluding the negotiations with timely and substantive results for U.S. consumers, businesses, farmers, ranchers, and workers...more

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