Canada Responds To Launch Of US NAFTA Consultations


"Renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) may have effects on produce and floral trade among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, particularly if tariffs or nontariff trade barriers are raised in any form", PMA said in a statement on its website. "USTR will now continue consultations with Congress and American stakeholders to create an agreement that advances the interests of America's workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses".

He added: "NAFTA was negotiated 25 years ago, and while our economy and businesses have changed considerably over that period, NAFTA has not".

But many Democrats say they will try to hold the administration to its promises on labor and environmental standards, a ban on currency manipulation and novel rules to bring back manufacturing jobs.

Lighthizer says the intention is to begin negotiations with Canada and Mexico "as soon as practicable", but no earlier than 90 days from the date of this notice.

While both sides concede Nafta needs updating, the congressional Republicans most likely to support a final deal would rather see a tweaking, since a significant overhaul or major new provisions could end up eroding the benefits companies and farmers get from reliable, duty-free exports to Canadian and Mexican markets.

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In a notification letter sent today to Congress, Ambassador Lighthizer outlined some of the areas of the agreement that are either outdated or missing - several of which are important to the US dairy industry - and reaffirmed commitment to pursuing the trade priorities outlined by TPA, including goals related to market access and curbing the abuse of geographical indications. "That's unacceptable. If we don't make things in America, we won't have a middle class in America". The Mexican official said he welcomed the opportunity to update the agreement, but insisted it must remain trilateral. However, the President is now moving towards renegotiating the deal as ending it would be a "shock to the system".

"The trade agreements that we've had have been very beneficial", says Stephen Censky, CEO of the American Soybean Association. "We believe the framework of a trilateral agreement is the most suitable and the most convenient for the peoples of Mexico, Canada and the United States. The whole energy sector has changed and the way we do business has too so I'm not averse to any of that", Pacheco said.

However, Trump wants the US government to favor American suppliers and experts worry that could lead to retaliation by Mexico and Canada.

The negotiations stand to put President Donald Trump into a politically tight spot at a time when the current political turmoil already threatens to hold up parts of his agenda.

The senators noted that NAFTA has led to "tremendous growth" in USA trade with Mexico and Canada, and that it has "integrated cross-border supply chains that benefit US employers, and more than tripled USA exports of goods, including agricultural and manufactured goods, and services". Mexican auto workers still earn less than $10 an hour, allowing manufacturers to keep small vehicle prices low and affordable to U.S. families on a budget.