The office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer recently released a summary of the negotiating objectives for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Trump administration will seek an agreement that reduces the U.S. trade deficit and improves market access in Canada and Mexico for U.S. manufacturing, agriculture and services.
USTR has included deficit reduction as an objective for the NAFTA negotiations. Lighthizer cites that since NAFTA was implemented in 1994, the U.S. bilateral goods trade balance with Mexico has gone from a $1.3 billion surplus to a $64 billion deficit in 2016. Market access in Canada is also considered an issue with respect to dairy, wine, grain and other products.
The summary says that the negotiating objectives include adding a digital economy chapter and incorporating and strengthening labor and environment obligations that are currently in NAFTA side agreements.
On May 18, 2017, Ambassador Lighthizer sent a letter notifying Congress of the administration’s intent to initiate NAFTA renegotiations. Since then, USTR has conducted consultations with Congress, stakeholders and the public. USTR received more than 12,000 responses and heard directly from over 140 witnesses over three days of public hearings, which USTR says directly impacted the development of the negotiating objectives.
Source: USTR via Textiles Update