Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump Administration Triggers Launch of NAFTA Renegotiations

In a letter sent Thursday to Republican and Democrat Congress and Senate leaders, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the president "intends to initiate negotiations with Canada and Mexico regarding modernization" of NAFTA.

Sending the letter begins a 90-day period for the administration to develop its negotiating positions before negotiations with Canada and Mexico can officially begin.

Through these negotiations, the United States seeks to support higher-paying jobs in the country and to grow its economy by improving opportunities to trade with Canada and Mexico. "I'm not playing", Trump said. Because this is what allows us to maximize the competitive potential of the region that should be the most competitive one in the world, North America, " Videgaray said. "Unlike Mexico, it does not enjoy a trade surplus with the USA; while it sells more goods to the US than it buys, a sizable services trade deficit with its southern neighbour brings the overall balance to -$11.9 billion in 2015".

U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers are also hoping for caution in the upcoming negotiations.

According to the US Chamber of Commerce, 14 million US jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico.

U.S. President Donald Trump shows the Executive Order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) after signing it in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on Monday, January 23, 2017. Washington's current political upheaval - and Mr. Trump's trade-related threats to neighbors - could also derail a deal.

USA wheat industry officials say renegotiating NAFTA could bring benefits, but they urge caution.

Turkey demands U.S. fire envoy in spat over Syrian Kurds
Police said 11 people were injured, including a Washington police officer, and two people were arrested for assault. The incident occurred after Erdogan arrived after a White House meeting with President Trump.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says he is putting Congress and trading partners on notice that "free and fair" trade is the new standard in the U.S.

Both organizations look forward to working with its partners in Canada, the USA and Mexico on this issue to ensure an open and vibrant produce supply chain.

The trade agreement has been a lightning rod for criticism since it was being negotiated in the early 1990s.

The Obama administration attempted to address many of these deficiencies in the 2015 Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which included Canada and Mexico, but Trump pulled out of TPP in one of his first official acts as president.

"I don't care if its a renovation of NAFTA, or a brand new NAFTA, but we do have to make it fair", Trump said when he signed an executive order on the trade agreement on January 23. "But we're going to give renegotiation a good, strong shot", he added.

The senators noted that NAFTA has led to "tremendous growth" in US trade with Mexico and Canada, and that it has "integrated cross-border supply chains that benefit USA employers, and more than tripled USA exports of goods, including agricultural and manufactured goods, and services".

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