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USA launches NAFTA renegotiation countdown

USA launches NAFTA renegotiation countdown

Mexico has begun to seek alternatives to US food because, as its agriculture secretary, Jose Calzada Rovirosa, said in March, Trump's remarks on trade "have injected uncertainty" into the agriculture business.

Renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement could begin in mid-August.

Since the signing of NAFTA, we have seen our manufacturing industry decimated, factories shuttered, and countless workers left jobless. President Trump is going to change that.

Among the goals are adding provisions to address digital trade, intellectual property rights, customs procedures, phytosanitary standards for health and quality of livestock and produce, and labor and environmental standards, he wrote.

Lighthizer's letter (https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/files/Press/Releases/NAFTA%20Notification.pdf) is less detailed than a draft sent to lawmakers in March, which listed as objectives tax equality and the ability to reimpose tariffs if Mexican and Canadian imports pose a serious injury threat to USA industry.

"The trade agreements that we've had have been very beneficial", says Stephen Censky, CEO of the American Soybean Association.

A prominent critic of US trade agreement calls the administration's plans "markedly vague". But he said he changed his mind after speaking with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

In a statement issued Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the formal announcement "has always been anticipated" and is part of the process required by U.S. Congress.

In particular, she mentioned the labour and environment chapters as areas that would benefit from modernization. Canada has much at stake in renegotiations, as three-quarters of all Canadian exports - or the equivalent of 20% of its total economic output - are USA bound.

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

"We note that Nafta was renegotiated 25 years ago, and while our economy and businesses have changed considerably over that period, Nafta has not", wrote U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer in the letter. Among the areas the USA wants to update are digital trade, intellectual property, labor, and the environment.

"What Canada has said from Day 1 is that we are ready to come to the table at any time", Freeland told the House of Commons Wednesday evening. In part, that's because trade represents a surprisingly small portion of the USA economy _ 28 per cent in 2015, according to the World Bank, one of the lowest shares in the world. The White House couldn't send the letter to Congress until Lighthizer was officially on the job. "He wanted to show the importance of the key accords to Canada". "Congress looks forward to working hand-in-hand with the Trump administration to achieve the best deal possible for American workers and our economy", Ryan said in a statement.

Freeland will travel to Mexico next week to meet her counterparts and further prepare for negotiations.

Mexico's Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso said in a press conference held at the US State Department that Mexico is prepared to "make it better".


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