Trade Ambassador Lighthizer Releases Trump Administration Negotiating Objectives for NAFTAMon, 17 Jul 2017 22:20:21 CDT
United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has released a detailed and comprehensive summary of the negotiating objectives for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Through the renegotiation of NAFTA, the Trump Administration will seek a much better agreement that reduces the U.S. trade deficit and is fair for all Americans by improving market access in Canada and Mexico for U.S. manufacturing, agriculture, and services.
In addition to President Trump being the first American president to begin renegotiating a comprehensive free trade agreement like NAFTA, for the first time USTR has included deficit reduction as a specific objective for the NAFTA negotiations. 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 issues have arisen in Canada with respect to dairy, wine, grain and other products — barriers that the current agreement is unequipped to address.
The negotiating objectives also include adding a digital economy chapter and incorporating and strengthening labor and environment obligations that are currently in NAFTA side agreements. Additionally, among other objectives, the Administration will work to eliminate unfair subsidies, market-distorting practices by state owned enterprises, and burdensome restrictions on intellectual property.
The negotiating objectives aim to apply the highest standards covering the broadest possible range of goods and services to ensure truly free and fair trade that supports higher-paying jobs and economic growth in the United States.
“President Trump continues to fulfill his promise to renegotiate NAFTA to get a much better deal for all Americans,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “Too many Americans have been hurt by closed factories, exported jobs, and broken political promises. Under President Trump’s leadership, USTR will negotiate a fair deal. America’s persistent trade imbalances, break down trade barriers, and give Americans new opportunities to grow their exports. President Trump is reclaiming American prosperity and making our country great again.”
At the direction of the President, on May 18, 2017, Ambassador Lighthizer sent a letter notifying Congress of the Administration’s intent to initiate NAFTA renegotiations.
The USTR has released a detailed agenda that the Trump Administration hopes to accomplish. Click here for the complete text.
For Agriculture- here are the goals the President has laid out:
- Maintain existing reciprocal duty-free market access for agricultural goods.
- Expand competitive market opportunities for U.S. agricultural goods in NAFTA countries, substantially equivalent to the competitive opportunities afforded foreign exports into the U.S. market, by reducing or eliminating remaining tariffs.
- Seek to eliminate non-tariff barriers to U.S. agricultural exports including discriminatory barriers, restrictive administration of tariff rate quotas, other unjustified measures that unfairly limit access to markets for U.S. goods, such as cross subsidization, price discrimination, and price undercutting.
- Provide reasonable adjustment periods for U. S. import sensitive agricultural products, engaging in close consultation with Congress on such products before initiating tariff reduction negotiations.
- Promote greater regulatory compatibility to reduce burdens associated with unnecessary differences in regulation, including through regulatory cooperation where appropriate.
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