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USTR Releases Updated NAFTA Negotiating Objectives

Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today released an updated summary of the negotiating objectives for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

This update marks the first time USTR has released a second updated version of negotiating objectives. The new objectives update the previous objectives published on July 17, 2017, in accordance with Section 5(a)(1)(D) of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015.

“This update is an important next step in ensuring that the American people continue to know what the Trump Administration is seeking to achieve in a renegotiated NAFTA,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “If we are able to achieve these objectives, we will both modernize and rebalance NAFTA to better serve the interests of our workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses.”

This latest transparency action builds on USTR’s unprecedented, rigorous consultations with Congress and private sector advisory committees throughout the renegotiation process.

USTR engagement on NAFTA renegotiations includes: 

  • Hundreds of hours and dozens of meetings in consultations with Congress, including over three dozen meetings directly with Members of Congress.
  • Continued transparency through on-going proactive consultations with members of the private sector, labor representatives, farmers, ranchers, and non-governmental organizations.  Including, extensive engagement with trade related advisory committees.
  • Three days of public hearings, featuring testimony from over 140 witnesses (June 27-29).
  • Careful review of over 12,000 public comments for crafting the NAFTA objectives.
  • Consultation meetings with the Senate Finance Committee and the House ways and Means Committee as well as meetings before the House and Senate Advisory Groups on Negotiations.

The updated objectives reflect the goals of text proposals the United States has tabled in the NAFTA negotiations with Canada and Mexico. The objectives include increased market access for agriculture, new transparency and administrative measures, expanded investment and intellectual property objectives, and completed negotiations on the chapters of Competition and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises. The objectives retain the first-ever USTR objective for trade deficit reduction, in addition to trade distortion prevention measures.

USTR’s objectives underscore the goals of updating NAFTA to the best 21st century standards and rebalancing the benefits of the deal. Through the NAFTA renegotiations, the Administration seeks freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth.

Background

At the direction of the President, on May 18, 2017, Ambassador Lighthizer sent a letter notifying Congress of the Administration’s intent to initiate NAFTA renegotiations. This action started the clock on a 90-day consultation period, during which extensive consultations took place with the public, the private sector, and Congress.

In accordance with the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, USTR released negotiating objectives at least 30 days prior to formal negotiations, which began on August 16, 2017.

To date, the NAFTA countries have held four rounds of negotiations, with a fifth round being held November 17-21, 2017.  During these negotiating rounds, the United States has put forward substantially all of the initial U.S. text proposals, including new text in 27 chapters of NAFTA. The Trump Administration remains committed to moving expeditiously toward a deal for fair, reciprocal trade for America’s workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.

Key Link:

Text of Updated USTR Negotiating Objectives for NAFTA.

 

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