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U.S. calls for smaller deficits in new NAFTA talks

19 Julio 2017, 04:44 | Bibiana Flor

U.S. calls for smaller deficits in new NAFTA talks

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump seen here with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in February has released its goals for a new North American Free Trade Agreement including a higher threshold for duty-free goods

But making the goal explicit may complicate the chances of reaching a new agreement, with both Mexico and Canada under their own domestic pressures not to cave to USA demands. The White House emphasis on trade follows a string of other recent theme weeks on energy, job-training and infrastructure that mostly failed to draw much attention away from the Russian Federation inquiry.

But while automakers and other manufacturers have said that NAFTA helped prop up their industries by providing more access to markets, less-expensive labor and parts, Trump throughout the campaign argued along with workers that NAFTA has cost American jobs and that he would stand for it no longer.

At the direction of the president, on May 18, Lighthizer sent a letter notifying Congress of the administration's intent to initiate NAFTA renegotiations.

If the objectives document's overall language is in line with the expectations for what a modernized NAFTA should look like in order to properly reflect and enhance the North American economy in the 21st century, there are nevertheless some elements that Canada and Mexico will find problematic.

Eliminate of the Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism for review of trade remedies administrative decisions. "If it comes out that it is not a good deal, no deal is better than a bad deal", Trumka said.

About 14 million U.S.jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Canadian measures to protect the dairy industry came under the microscope at a USA congressional hearing on revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement Tuesday, suggesting the Liberal government will have a tough time convincing legislators to look past the long-standing trade irritant. Four points in particular seem destined to generate conflict with Canada and Mexico, the United States' largest export markets.

U.S. calls for smaller deficits in new NAFTA talks

Under sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, USTR said they want to "provide for enforceable SPS obligations that build upon WTO rights and obligations, including with respect to science based measures, good regulatory practice, import checks, equivalence, and regionalization, making clear that each country can set for itself the level of protection it believes to be appropriate to protect food safety, and plant and animal health in a manner consistent with its global obligations". It is also seeking to secure commitments not to impose customs duties on digital products. Administration officials are to meet Wednesday with economic officials from China, a nation the president has accused of dumping steel on the global market to hurt US steelmakers. You didn't have a cell phone.

"International talks on trade have to go beyond a tweak here and a little change there. I think this prime minister has the leadership, and the vision, and the understanding to recognize he is going to have to give up some of the protections in Canada if we want the Americans to give up some their protections that are hurting us", he said.

Agriculture Secretary Perdue got a taste of farmers' angst when met cattle ranchers in Nebraska on May 20.

The Trump administration, which prefers bilateral deals over sprawling multicountry trade agreements, has said that a new NAFTA will most likely serve as a template for its pacts with other countries.

An worldwide relations expert says the Americans are going to want more access to the dairy market than other trade deals.

So far, Mexico and Canada have reacted to these renegotiation plans amicably.



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