NAFTA renegotiations are up at bat this summer. In May, the Trump administration sent a letter to Congress that began a 90-day consultation period between Congress, the administration, and business stakeholders to discuss the United States’ priorities. The 90-day period is set to expire on August 16th, at which point the United States may restart discussions with Canada and Mexico. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has indicated that Congress will receive a detailed proposal in July that provides specifics on how to re-work the 1994 free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.
Renegotiating NAFTA has been a major issue at the center of the administration’s trade policy. USTR Lighthizer stated that the goal of renegotiation is to create an agreement that advances the interests of America’s workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses. Last week, USTR received over 1,300 comments from stakeholders following its request for input on how to “modernize” NAFTA. Next week, USTR will hold a public hearing during which stakeholders can present their views for consideration by the administration.
According to Secretary Ross, the administration’s proposal to Congress will address the services, financial, and natural resource sectors. Also on the table for discussion are likely to be currency issues, production overcapacity in particular sectors, like steel, and various other trade measures. The administration is also keen to reexamine the current country of origin rules, which guide whether a product that is made, to some extent, from foreign components can be considered of NAFTA origin.
The Trade and Manufacturing Monitor will continue to provide updates on the renegotiation of NAFTA – check back for updates.