Tuesday, 27 June, 2017

AIA Statement on Trump Administration's NAFTA Notification Letter

Ohio Democrats Say Details Will Matter When It Comes to Rengotiating NAFTA Trump sets plan to renegotiate NAFTA, local lawmakers keeping watch
Jo Caldwell | 19 May, 2017, 23:30

After a couple of fits and starts, the White House made it official today, sending formal negotiations to Congress - and one assumes to Mexico and Canada, as well - that it's going to open up the North American Free Trade Agreement for renegotiation.

The U.S. can be expected to play hardball when the NAFTA negotiations begin, but its negotiators shouldn't expect Canada and Mexico to accept a deal that is counterproductive to their own economies.

"The United States seeks to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow the USA economy by improving US opportunities under NAFTA", the letter reads. "For years, politicians have called for the renegotiation of this agreement, but President Trump is the first to follow through with that promise", said Lighthizer.

The split in Congress - which must approve any major overhaul of Nafta - mirrors a division in the Trump administration between traditional business-friendly Republicans and the economic nationalists who frequently join with liberals in calling for measures at the border to protect American workers from unfair competition. US President Donald Trump had previously threatened to withdraw completely from the agreement.

During this 90-day period, the Trump Administration will seek to agree with Congress negotiating priorities, as any new NAFTA text would be expedited under Trade Promotion Authority; the new text would be put to Congress for a yes or no vote, without the possibility of amendments.

Renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement could begin in mid-August.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement the goal of new Nafta talks is to find a "solution that is both fair and beneficial for all parties".

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Mexico's Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso said in a press conference held at the US State Department that Mexico is prepared to "make it better".

She worries that a revamped NAFTA will include provisions left over from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement between the U.S., Mexico and 10 other Pacific Rim countries negotiated by the Obama administration and thrown out by Trump.

"Many chapters are outdated and do not reflect modern standards".

"NAFTA has been vital to the growth of the USA insurance industry, but as with any agreement that's almost a quarter of a century old, NAFTA can be improved".

Regarding NAFTA's effect on Canada, Investopedia notes, "Canada experienced a more modest increase in trade with the US than Mexico did as a result of NAFTA, at an inflation-adjusted 63.5 per cent (Canada-Mexico trade remains negligible). We've learned a lot and we can make it better". "We can do constructive work together", she said, bringing them up to the 21st century standards Canadians expect.

Lighthizer's letter is less detailed than a draft sent to lawmakers in March, which listed as objectives tax equality and the ability to re-impose tariffs if Mexican and Canadian imports pose a serious injury threat to USA industry. Overall the trade deal's effects on the US economy have been minimal, according to a report put out by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service in February.

"I'm pleased the administration is working to expand market access, improve customs enforcement, and improve American manufacturing - all part of our effort to create more jobs and boost wages", said a statement from Portman. "We believe the framework of a trilateral agreement is the most suitable and the most convenient for the peoples of Mexico, Canada and the United States".

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