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Trump Outlines Plans for NAFTA Renegotiation, Reducing US Trade Deficit

Trump Outlines Plans for NAFTA Renegotiation, Reducing US Trade Deficit

The TPP was essentially a renegotiation of Nafta-one that that added nine more countries.

Given President Trump's heated rhetoric on cutting American debt and reducing U.S. trade deficits, it's also likely his administration will seek to level the U.S./Canadian trade balance. The trade deficit with Canada hit a high in 2008, while the trade gap with Mexico almost reached $75 billion in 2007.

"These provisions must be changed so multinational corporations can not continue to profit from the advantages of a trade agreement while workers suffer stagnated wages and economic insecurity" while companies move USA factory jobs "to countries that do not respect fundamental human rights", he declared.

The document also outlines provisions to protect against currency manipulation, ideas that are less applicable to NAFTA countries than to others with which the USA could seek bilateral agreements using similar language.

While he allowed there might be area to update the provision, Canada's ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton said it's "critical" to have a way for the countries to handle disputes. But there needs to be some kind of a dispute resolution mechanism. But under the terms of NAFTA, Canada and Mexico are always excluded from those penalties. It also wants to strengthen labor and environmental obligations, as well as amending the rules of origin so that more of the products traded come from the United States and North America.

John Melle will be the Trump administration's chief negotiator. That means that Canada and Mexico could become ensnared if the administration decides to do something to, for example, protect the US solar industry, a safeguard case it's now considering. Shortly before the release of the document, President Donald Trump lashed out against trade deals and unfair trade practices, saying he would take more legal and regulatory steps during the next six months to protect American manufacturers. "There's nothing in there where you could say, this is how we get rid of the trade deficit".

"This will all have to be subject to the three sides being in agreement in the process", he said. But the objectives outlined by the administration this week assure those of us in agriculture that the president and his trade team will work to fulfill a promise he made to farmers and ranchers: to keep the gains we have made so far, and to make agricultural trade even better in the future. This provision in the NAFTA goals would do away with the protections Canada is still able to maintain on the market, opening it up to American competition.

A well-placed Canadian source familiar with discussions said the United States had proposed the schedule, but could not confirm whether an agreement had been reached on the timetable.

On July 17 the Trump administration released a 20-page list (pdf) of its objectives for the Nafta renegotiation, which could begin as early as August.

Mexico, Canada and the United States agreed generally to these principles before, as part of the TPP, a deal that Trump officially withdrew from on his first Monday in office.

The administration also wants to introduce formal safeguards against currency manipulation, so countries can take action against partners that are holding down the value of their currency to boost exports.

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