"The net overall effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy appears to have been relatively modest primarily because trade with Canada and Mexico accounts for a small percentage of U.S. GDP".
Lighthizer told reporters Nafta has been successful for American agriculture, investment services and the energy sector, but not for manufacturing. "For years, politicians have called for the renegotiation of this agreement, but President Trump is the first to follow through with that promise", said ambassador Lighthizer.
The U.S. can be expected to play hardball when the NAFTA negotiations begin, but its negotiators shouldn't expect Canada and Mexico to accept a deal that is counterproductive to their own economies.
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letter sent today to Congress, Ambassador Lighthizer outlined some of the areas of the agreement that are either outdated or missing - several of which are important to the US dairy industry - and reaffirmed commitment to pursuing the trade priorities outlined by TPA, including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.
Earlier in the week, Senator John McCain and seventeen other Senators wrote a letter to U.S Trade Representative Lighthizer agreeing that NAFTA "will benefit from strengthening and modernization", but warning that abandoning the agreement "will have devastating economic consequences". But the trade gap has widened partly because American consumers are eager to buy relatively low-cost cars and other goods from Mexico.
Mexican foreign minister Luis Videgaray, speaking at a news conference with secretary of state Rex Tillerson in Washington, said the trade pact needed to be updated after almost 25 years. The world has changed, we've learned a lot, and we can make it better.
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"Today, the administration indicated their intent to open North American trade negotiations".
US Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donohue urged US officials to "do no harm" to businesses that depend on trade with Canada and Mexico and to move quickly on a new trilateral deal.
"The news today that the administration is focused on a realistic modernization of NAFTA rather than a massive overhaul that could cost US sectors export markets is worth retweeting", Gold said.Matt Gold, who teaches global trade law at Fordham, is reasonably confident and not for nothing. "This will enable us to assess what matters most to Canadians and to advance our interests", she explained. Democratic congressmen Richard Neal and Bill Pascrell Jr. said Lighthizer's Nafta letter was lacking in specifics and didn't appear to be seeking the "fundamental reform" that Trump promised during the election.
Lighthizer says he spoke with his counterparts in Mexico and Canada, adding all three nations will benefit from the renegotiation.
Our hope is that we can end up with the structure similar to what we have now.
USTR will publish a notice in the Federal Register requesting public input on the direction, focus, and content of the negotiations for NAFTA, a trilateral free trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Insisting on ideas like that would make agreement hard to reach.