US Lists NAFTA Priorities as Renegotiation of the Deal Looms

Unifor calls for overhaul of NAFTA

US Lists NAFTA Priorities as Renegotiation of the Deal Looms

"It will ensure that the United States obtains more open, equitable, secure, and reciprocal market access, and that our trade agreement with our two largest export markets is effectively implemented and enforced". It calls for more opportunities for American suppliers for government procurement overseas, such as construction projects, but in the next breath, it insists on preserving Buy American rules that limit such rights for foreigners.

"Don't expect it to be finished in less than eight months", Miller said, adding Canada should be expected to "fight hard for issues it cares about". Negotiations are expected to begin about August 16.

The administration's emphasis on reducing trade deficits is a "major concern" that could complicate the negotiations, said Chad Bown, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

Another longtime NAFTA critic, Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, said the new agreement should be a "continental compact that lifts workers and raises wages on all sides of the border".

The combined goods and services trade deficit with Mexico was $55.6 billion in 2016.

The Liberal government is now accepting input from the public on a renegotiated deal, asking what elements of NAFTA should be preserved, what should be improved and what new issues need to be addressed to modernize the 23-year-old agreement.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reaching for one of his favorite political tools in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA): town hall meetings.

That's the crux of a statement released July 17 by U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer.

It's the first time that USTR has included deficit reduction as a specific objective for NAFTA negotiation, reflecting the Donald Trump administration's determination to address the trade deficit. The U.S. Commerce Department in June rolled out a new round of tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber. Regulatory and administrative barriers, not tariffs, have become the most important obstacles to trade today, so it makes a lot of sense for NAFTA to establish governance mechanisms to ensure effective bilateral and trilateral regulatory and administrative co-operation.

In agricultural products, the report outlines several areas where the administration seeks to improve the trade deal.

That includes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's speech last week to a meeting of governors, where he reminded Americans there are 9 million USA workers whose jobs depend directly on trade with Canada, which is the top export market for two-thirds of all states. The U.S. seeks to eliminate the Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism and will "seek a separate domestic industry provision for perishable and seasonal products in AD/CVD proceedings".

Mexican officials say a revamped NAFTA must further integrate the region and are awaiting USA negotiating objectives, due to be published on or around Sunday. The nation's officials have called for Nafta talks to finish by the end of this year to prevent them from mixing with election politics ahead of the presidential vote.

"There are other parts of the country that may have different interests in regards to NAFTA and how it has impacted their communities", McSally said.

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