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US trade envoy Lighthizer says NAFTA has "failed" Americans

US trade envoy Lighthizer says NAFTA has

The Trump administration took a hard line in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on Wednesday, demanding major concessions aimed at restoring the US trade balance with Canada and Mexico.

"The question ... is, What will Trump accept as a success in these negotiations?" said Burney.

The views of the President about NAFTA, which I completely share, are well known. In this brief, we look at the Canadian government's objectives for the upcoming North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations.

The renegotiation process began in earnest in May after the Trump administration told Congress it would seek changes to the current deal "to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow the USA economy".

The more concerning potential "deal breaker", he said, is the Trump administration's demand to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.

Seated next to Lighthizer was John Melle, an assistant USA trade official who will be chief negotiator for the U.S.in the NAFTA talks, and the US trade representative's general counsel, Stephen Vaughn.

"When it was passed in Congress, over our strong objections 24 years ago, workers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico were told that it would be good for them".

But Lighthizer said that "for countless Americans, this agreement has failed". Trade in steel products between NAFTA countries has increased by 117.2 percent, more than doubling, since the NAFTA was put in place. The administration has not publicly identified a specific percentage of minimum domestic content that it would like to see.

On Wednesday, however, Lighthizer said, "Rules of origin, particularly on autos and auto parts, must require higher NAFTA content and substantial US content".

A modernized NAFTA should take into account technological advances and make it easier for professionals to move from one member nation to another, she added.

Lighthizer says the USA government has certified at least 700,000 Americans have lost their jobs due to NAFTA.

Trump's negotiations are staying faithful to the president's "America First" outlook and endorsing his "Buy American" campaign. But Trump has criticized NAFTA for killing jobs and causing the trade deficit with Mexico.

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He says the US is looking to get tougher enforcement of environmental and labor regulations in Mexico.

The U.S. trade rep said that while the trade deficit with Canada has balanced out over recent years, with Canada saying the U.S. had a slight surplus last year, over the last decade the U.S. "deficit in goods has exceeded $365 billion".

Large negotiating teams from Canada, Mexico and the United States will meet through Sunday to develop the new text of the pact. And it worth pointing out that we are the biggest client of the United States.

Lighthizer said revamping NAFTA would fulfill Trump's repeated campaign promises to help U.S. workers. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, wrote to President Trump to point out the positive economic benefits of NAFTA and urge him to preserve it-that any "efforts to abandon the agreement or impose unnecessary restrictions on trade with our North American partners [would] have devastating economic consequences".

"Mr Lighthizer's speech was very focused on USA domestic policy".

Non-negotiable national interest priorities: Canada's "non-negotiable" priorities for cultural industries (publishing, broadcasting) and supply management in the dairy, poultry and egg markets were reaffirmed in the statement of Minister Freeland.

Mexican Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal offered a similar defense of the original NAFTA agreement, even as he agreed the deal could be modernized in the latest round of negotiations between his country and Mexico.

Freeland, who predicted there would be moments of drama during the talks, said Canada wanted a progressive trade deal featuring stricter environmental and labor standards as well as a focus on climate change, a concept Trump has little time for.

"We find ourselves in an ongoing pickle of trying to figure out how we can sell products in Canada", North said.

First, I know we all agree that NAFTA needs updating.

"If we can't mobilize to make sure Congress understands they would pay a price for bringing back a NAFTA that continued to be bad for workers, continued to depress wages, continued to make us compete", he said, "Republicans will continue to turn a blind eye to this problem".

He cautioned, however: "For a deal to be successful, it has to work for all parties involved".