Trump administration notifies Congress of intent to renegotiate NAFTA

Trump administration notifies Congress of intent to renegotiate NAFTA

"I am pleased to notify the Congress that the President intends to initiate negotiations with Canada and Mexico regarding modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)".

Following the notification by the Trump administration to Congress that it intends to modernize the trade agreement among the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) urged the president to make sure that tariffs remain at zero for pork traded in North America.

The Trump administration has set into motion the process to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, following through on the president's earlier promise.

In a brief letter, Robert Lighthizer, the newly confirmed U.S. trade representative, said the administration aimed to support better-paying jobs and economic growth by modernizing the 23-year-old agreement. He also told Congress that "the administration's primary goal in renegotiating the more than 23-year-old agreement will be to update it, including by adding provisions on digital trade, intellectual property rights and labor and environmental standards".

Trucks wait in a long queue for border customs control to cross into the the Otay border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico on February 2, 2017.

He says the US manufacturing industry has been decimated by NAFTA, a deal the White House considers deeply unfair.

On Thursday, Lighthizer said he hoped they could complete the renegotiation by year's end, a tight timetable by recent trade talk standards.

Commenting on the news, Oregon Democrat Senator Jeff Merkley said, "The key question for trade deals is whether they create good-paying jobs for working Americans, or destroy good-paying jobs".

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross emphasized the importance of manufacturing in his statement on the NAFTA negotiations.

The Obama administration attempted to address many of these deficiencies in the 2015 Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which included Canada and Mexico, but Trump pulled out of TPP in one of his first official acts as president.

Trump repeatedly criticized NAFTA during his 2016 election bid, arguing it hurt USA workers. "We have been from day one", Freeland said.

A Canadian source close to the lumber negotiations said it was unlikely an agreement could be reached by mid-August, however.

The renegotiation provides the Trump Administration with a unique opportunity to reset the US trade agenda, according to National Farmers Union (NFU).

The White House has said it is seeking of winning better terms for USA workers and manufactures by renegotiating the trade agreement.

Canada and Mexico are America's second and third largest trade partners after China. "We can make this a negotiation that is good for the three parties involved, certainly, under a win-win framework", Videgaray said, according to the State Department transcript. "I'm not playing", Trump said.

National Corn Growers Association President Wesley Spurlock urged Lighthizer to remember the interests of US agriculture as they begin modernizing the agreement.

Renegotiating NAFTA was a big selling point for Donald Trump with Ohio voters, and likely represents his best chance of getting Ohio Democratic support in Congress.

The Canadian and Mexican governments are prepared for NAFTA renegotiation discussions. "In particular, we note that NAFTA was negotiated 25 years ago, and while our economy and businesses have changed considerably over that period, NAFTA has not".