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Merkley Agrees NAFTA Needs Renegotiated, But Wary Of Trump Administration

19 May 2017

Robert Lighthizer in a letter notified the Congress that US President Donald Trump intends to renegotiate the NAFTA, a trade treaty entered into by the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Videgaray spoke after the Trump administration formally launched its effort to renegotiate NAFTA with Canada and Mexico to try to win better terms for USA workers and manufacturers.

He also told reporters he expected the effort to lead to a successful renegotiation, rather than US withdrawal from the pact, as President Donald Trump came close to doing last month.

"The Trump Administration understands that NAFTA has been an unequivocal success story for American agriculture", said Wesley Spurlock, National Corn Growers Association president. Within hours, the president reversed course and said that he'd seek a better deal first. "However, it is time to update and improve this 20-year-old agreement to ensure that NAFTA continues to open more markets for American manufactured goods, agricultural products and services, and that it better reflects our needs in the 21st century".

"Since the signing of NAFTA, we have seen our manufacturing industry decimated, factories shuttered, and countless workers left jobless", Ross said in a statement.

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"I would note that many of these negotiations will be bilateral and numerous issues are bilateral, but our hope is that we will end up with a structure that is similar to what we have now", he said.

America's Nafta partners said on Thursday they welcomed the strategy of modernizing rather than scrapping the trade pact.

"The president's leadership on trade will permanently reverse the risky trajectory of American trade", Lighthizer told reporters Thursday.

"We believe today's action signals the beginning of a strong trade agenda for USA exporters". But the administration so far hasn't said what changes it is proposing to bring those jobs back, and Thursday's letter provided no clues.

The trade representative's statements also did not include the type of harsh rhetoric the president has used to describe NAFTA.

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"Today, President Trump fulfilled one of his key promises to the American people". Most of his base supporters reside in farm country, but they'll change their tunes if Trump undermines NAFTA with his off-the-cuff comments. Starts 90-day clock. Negotiations start August 16. "Most chapters are clearly outdated and do not reflect the most recent standards in US trade agreements".

Susan Schwab, the US trade representative in the George W. Bush Administration, said it's about time.

Lighthizer stressed that NAFTA was negotiated 25 years ago, and while USA economy and businesses have changed considerably over that period, NAFTA has not.

More details on the administration's negotiating priorities will be outlined at least 30 days before negotiations begin, Lighthizer said.

Since then, USTR has begun consultations with committees of jurisdiction in Congress and advisory committees, as outlined by TPA.

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