NAFTA Negotiations Off to a Bumpy Start

Effigy of Donald Trump

The United States drew a hard line for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement on Wednesday, demanding major concessions aimed at slashing trade deficits with Mexico and Canada and boosting USA content for autos.

Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative, recently stated that Nafta had "fundamentally failed many, many Americans and needs major improvement".

The top USA trade negotiator says Americans have lost more than 7,000 jobs.

Freeland said Canada does not see trade surpluses or deficits as the primary measure of whether bilateral trade relations are working - in contrast to Trump, who has repeatedly talked about US trade deficits as the key data point for bolstering American manufacturing and industrial jobs.

And, of course, to proceed into the renegotiation, he has had to seek the permission of Congress through the Trade Promotion Authority so we have a pretty clear sense of what the Americans are looking for. The USTR website shows that five important positions directly under Lighthizer have yet to be confirmed - including deputy us trade representative posts and the chief negotiators for agriculture and intellectual property, key areas for the NAFTA negotiations.

Lighthizer acknowledged that NAFTA has benefited some Americans, like farmers and ranchers who found new markets for their goods in Canada and Mexico.

Rubio said her USA counterparts were focused on transparency in new regulations, while she pushed the need to standardize rules.

The U.S. trade representative said he wanted to change the pact to require that duty-free NAFTA products contain more content made within the trade bloc and specifically in the United States.

"So we need to make sure that the ability to move people, trade and services, is protected".

Duvall also warned that negotiators should avoid swapping any US gains in agriculture in order to boost other business sectors.

Mexico's secretary of economy, Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, spoke more briefly and took a more defensive posture.

NAFTA re-negotiations should aim to modernize the agreement, rather than dismantle it.

In an interview with The canadian Press, the ex-prime minister Jean Charest recalled that Canada has allowed for openings in the management of the offer during the negotiations of the agreement with Europe and the trans-pacific Partnership.

The pact also has massively boosted USA farm income by increasing agricultural exports to both Mexico and Canada. Negotiators are expected to continue talks next month in Mexico. "Just as farmers have new tools and technology for food and fiber production, we believe that an updated NAFTA agreement can help the three nations become even stronger trading partners", AFBF President Zippy Duvall said.

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