US Lists NAFTA Priorities as Renegotiation of the Deal Looms

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 18, 2017

In a much-anticipated document sent to lawmakers ahead of talks expected next month, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the Trump administration aimed to reduce the U.S. trade deficit by improving access for U.S. goods exported to Canada and Mexico, the two countries in NAFTA besides the United States.

The United States on Monday outlined a tough negotiating strategy for revising the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement and for the first time in a USA trade deal said it would seek to deter currency manipulation by trading partners.

President Donald Trump promised on Monday he would take more legal and regulatory steps during the next six months to protect American manufacturers, lashing out against trade deals and trade practices he said have hurt USA companies.

The Trump administration on Monday released its wish list for NAFTA negotiations, taking the latest step in what is likely to be a long process of reevaluating the almost 25-year-old trade deal.

At the direction of US President Donald Trump, Lighthizer on May 18 notified Congress of the administration's intent to begin renegotiating NAFTA. The U.S. trade balance with Mexico also swung from a small surplus in 1994 to deficits that have exceeded $60 billion for most of the past decade. It also wants to strengthen labor and environmental obligations.

The document asserts that no country should manipulate currency exchange to gain an unfair competitive advantage.

South Korea is on a U.S. Treasury monitoring list for possible signs of currency manipulation. Rules of origin dictate the percent of a product that must be produced in NAFTA countries.

To be sure, Lighthizer's objectives are largely a wish list of items, and Canada and Mexico will have their own versions as well.

The White House has declared this week "Made in America" week in an effort to highlight USA -made products.

Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, an umbrella organization of unions representing 12.5 million workers, said NAFTA had been an "unequivocal failure" and should be completely renegotiated. He said. "We're going to start doing that again".

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