Economy

Trump Administration Begins NAFTA Renegotiation Process

Trump Administration Begins NAFTA Renegotiation Process

On Thursday, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer formally notified congressional leaders by letter that the president intends to start talks "as soon as practicable", initiating a 90-day period in which congress and the administration will agree the objectives of the negotiations.

Through renegotiations, "the United States seeks to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow the USA economy by improving U.S. opportunities to trade with Canada and Mexico", Lighthizer said in the letter sent to Congressional leadership.

"NAFTA is the most critical free trade agreement on the books for USA grain farmers, providing open access to countries that are among our top corn, sorghum and barley export markets, as well as significant and growing markets for distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and meat products made using grain", Counsell says. "Many chapters are outdated and do not reflect modern standards", he said. "For example, digital trade was in its infancy when Nafta was enacted".

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Lighthizer said this would allow talks over NAFTA to begin by mid-August.

Lighthizer was appointed USA trade representative Monday.

"Today President Trump fulfilled one of his key promises to the American people", Lighthizer said Thursday, according to the paper. "The North American Free Trade Agreement has been successful, with significant volumes of trade in produce flowing north and south across borders". The world has changed, we've learned a lot, and we can make it better. "Nowhere is the importance of trade stronger than right here in North America", National Corn Growers Association President Wesley Spurlock said in a statement.

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He said he hoped to maintain the current trilateral format of Nafta, but noted that many of Nafta's problems are bilateral issues that need to be worked out with either Mexico or Canada. The National Foreign Trade Council, a pro-trade business group, echoed the sentiments of many economists in highlighting the benefits NAFTA has delivered to all the member nations, noting Canada and Mexico are the largest export markets for US goods.

Lighthizer, during his March 15 confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, said he would do his best to protect what farmers have gained under NAFTA under any renegotiation.

US trade policy has been a prominent issue in recent months, the letter acknowledges, and taking a fresh look at NAFTA will be an immediate priority. "Mexico reaffirms its willingness to update NAFTA". However, there were worker and firm adjustment costs as the three countries adjusted to more open trade and investment. "President (Donald) Trump is going to change that".

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