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US government launches process of redrafting NAFTA

north american free trade


by Joseph Earnest May 18, 2017


Newscast Media WASHINGTONThe US government has launched the countdown to renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with President Donald Trump aiming to rectify what he called a bad deal for American workers.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has formally notified Congress of the Trump administration's intent to revamp the pact with Canada and Mexico, which accounts for about $1 trillion (898 billion euros) in annual trade. Talks were scheduled to begin no earlier than August 16, he said in a statement released Thursday.

During the required 90-day period, Lighthizer will consult with Congress and American stakeholders to create an agreement that "advances the interests of America's workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses."

During his election the campaign, President Donald Trump vowed to scrap NAFTA altogether, saying it was a disaster for US workers. His repeated complaints that bad trade deals cost American jobs gained him support among working class voters, who helped lift him to the White House.

But Trump backed away from the threat to withdraw after Canadian and Mexican officials urged Washington to renegotiate and modernize rather than scrap the trade pact.

Signed in 1994, NAFTA is said to have boosted industry in the US, Mexico and Canada and created tight manufacturing, farming and business links throughout the region.

Still, Lighthizer said reforming the trade agreement fulfilled one of Trump's "key promises to the American people."

In the formal notification to Congress, the US trade representative said NAFTA had not kept up with changes in the economy and business over the last 25 years, including the boom in e-commerce. "Many chapters are outdated and do not reflect modern standards," he said.

The administration aims to improve "effective implementation and aggressive enforcement" of NAFTA commitments, and will introduce additional provisions to address intellectual property rights, regulation, services, labor, environment and other issues.

"The United States seeks to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow the US economy by improving US opportunities under NAFTA," he said. 

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 Source: Deutsch Welle












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