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U.S. launches NAFTA renegotiation countdown

U.S. launches NAFTA renegotiation countdown

Administration officials sent a letter to Congress that triggers a 90-day consultation period among the administration, Congress and business.

Renegotiating NAFTA, which was enacted in 1994 to create a free-trade zone between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, was a central tenant of Trump's campaign.

The White House notified the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees that the administration will update the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Within hours, the president reversed course, saying he'd seek a better deal first. "But we're going to give renegotiation a good, strong shot".

Under Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which Congress approved in June 2015 and which covers trade agreements reached before July 1, 2018, the administration is required to give lawmakers 90-days' notice prior to entering talks on a trade deal that would require changes in USA law needed to comply with the agreement.

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

Hoffa said the Teamsters are optimistic Lighthizer will fulfill the promises of this administration to dramatically reform NAFTA to focus on jobs that will help hardworking Americans.

In advance of renegotiations, the administration has sparred with Canada over low-priced Canadian timber and Canadian barriers to US dairy products.

The letter did not, however, offer details about what the scope of these negotiations would include.

Trump has called NAFTA a "horrible deal" for the U.S. He discussed "tweaking" parts of the deal in February, and in April, he threatened to scrap it.

The trade deal was negotiated by President George H.W. Bush, but was submitted to Congress by President Bill Clinton, who cajoled enough Democrats to join with Republicans to back it.

"I think the sugar situation is like a preamble, a starting point for entering the Nafta negotiations", said Carlos Blackaller, head of Mexico's sugar cane growers' union which represents some 180,000 cane producers in 15 Mexican states.

"Since January, United Fresh has been in constant dialogue with Congress, the Administration and other interested stakeholders to convey that the fruit and vegetable industry needs trade agreements that facilitate trade, rather than erecting barriers that protect specific interests", Guenther said. Earlier this month, 38 members of Congress sent a letter to Mr. Trump urging him to use his power to impose duty on Mexican sugar "in response to the serious injury Mexico causes to US sugar producers".

The agreement, which has been in place since 1994, lifted numerous tariffs on trade between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. As required under the Trade Promotion Authority, the USTR will publish objectives of the negotiations at least 30 days before the formal negotiations begin.


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