Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Trump administration initiates NAFTA renegotiation process

Ellis Copeland | 22 May, 2017, 17:06

Chrystia Freeland, Canada's foreign affairs minister, says renegotiating the trade pact "offers us an opportunity to determine how we can best align NAFTA to new realities - and integrate progressive, free and fair approaches to trade and investment".

On May 18, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer notified Congress that President Donald Trump intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The decision to start the 90-day clock to begin negotiations over the deal marks the third time that the President has made a contentious announcement ahead of discussions between the US and Mexico.

The move launching Nafta talks on Thursday is just the first step in a process that will drag on for months. "We have been from day one", Freeland told reporters. But he said he changed his mind after speaking with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

It is less detailed than a draft sent to lawmakers in March, which said the Trump administration would seek tax equality and the ability to reimpose tariffs if Mexican and Canadian imports pose a serious injury threat to USA industry. We are ready.to work together with both the governments of the USA and Canada to make our trade agreement better. "The net overall effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy appears to have been relatively modest primarily because trade with Canada and Mexico accounts for a small percentage of U.S. GDP".

Canada Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said many United States jobs depend on NAFTA which has created growth throughout the region. Lighthizer says that NAFTA could be renegotiated by the end of the year. However, there are certainly specific challenges within fresh produce that NAFTA modernisation can aggressively address, so we are pleased that this opportunity has been realized by the Administration. With luck, the Nafta renegotiation might do the same. The impact on some vulnerable USA industries was delayed. -Canada trade tensions have escalated. Trump has pledged to dramatically increase USA oil and gas production, but Canadian supplies will likely remain an important American energy source for some time. Mexico is the No. 3 market for US agriculture, notably corn, soybeans and pork.

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The view in the US that Canadian logging companies get unfair subsidies pre-dates the Trump administration. "President Trump is going to change that".

It also did not include the type of harsh rhetoric the president has used to describe NAFTA or the trade practices of Canada and Mexico in the past.

US President Donald Trump has formally triggered the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

"I tried to demonstrate to him that in the agricultural market, sometimes words like "withdraw" or "terminate" can have a major impact on markets", Perdue said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"You're struggling to understand what exactly he wants to negotiate and what the intent is".

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