USA launches NAFTA renegotiation countdown

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer say the U.S. is

The decision to start the 90-day clock to begin negotiations over the deal marks the third time that the President has made a contentious announcement ahead of discussions between the US and Mexico.

"This modernization must strengthen America's competitiveness in the global economy rather than impose new barriers", NFTC President Rufus Yerxa said in a statement.

"Sectors like manufacturing, particularly with regard to Mexico, have fallen behind", Lighthizer said.

NAFTA was negotiated between the U.S., Canada and Mexico 25 years ago, and needs to be updated, Lighthizer said in the letter. He also cited digital trade, describing it as "in its infancy when NAFTA was enacted".

Dan Ujczo, an worldwide trade and customs lawyer with cross-border business law firm Dickinson Wright LLP, said sending the letter out so quickly demonstrates a "need for speed" on getting the trade talks underway ahead of the USA midterm elections in 2018 and the Mexican presidential elections in 2018. The administration has made reducing the trade deficit a priority, and Lighthizer suggested Thursday the USA will seek to lure back firms that have moved production to Mexico.

Under TPP, Vietnamese rice would have preferential access to Mexico, Hayes said. In addition to guaranteeing fairer treatment of our industry in Mexico and Canada, the agreement led to economic growth in all three countries. Doing so would give companies and consumers privacy protection benchmarks as data are transferred from the U.S.to its northern and southern neighbors. He once referred to it as the "worst trade deal in the history of the world". "Thanks to the President's leadership, today my office is formally notifying Congress of the administration's intent to renegotiate NAFTA".

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"Since the signing of Nafta, we have seen our manufacturing industry decimated, factories shuttered, and countless workers left jobless.", he said.

As an example, Merkley said, the Trump Administrations health care plan destroys care for millions of workers while delivering $600 billion to the wealthiest Americans.

Trucks move along Interstate 35 in Laredo, Texas. During his presidential election campaign, Trump threatened to withdraw the United States from the above mentioned treaty, in force with Mexico and Canada since 1994, if it does not obtain major benefits for the US.

Cheap subsidized sugar from Mexico is one area of contention for sugar producers in Louisiana. Washington's current political upheaval - and Mr. Trump's trade-related threats to neighbors - could also derail a deal.

Asked if the Nafta talks would seek to resolve trade disputes over imports of Canadian softwood lumber or Mexican sugar, Lighthizer said he hoped those issues would be settled before the Nafta talks begin under separate negotiations being conducted by the US Commerce Department. We remain committed to the goal of a positive, market-expanding and modernized NAFTA.

Since Feb. 2 the administration has consulted with members of the Senate Committee on Finance, the House Committee on Ways and Means, the House Advisory Group on Negotiations, the Senate Advisory Group on Negotiations, trade advisory committees and others on the topic of NAFTA renegotiation, according to the letter.

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