Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

AIA Statement on Trump Administration's NAFTA Notification Letter

Through renegotiations, "the United States seeks to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow the U.S. economy by improving USA opportunities to trade with Canada and Mexico", Lighthizer said in the letter sent to Congressional leadership.

"We intend to initiate negotiations with Canada and Mexico as soon as possible, but no earlier than 90 days from the date of this notice", he said.

Lightizer says the goal of bringing the three countries to the table will be to enable the use the deal to support higher paying jobs and to grow the economy.

Renegotiation of Nafta was a key campaign promise of American president Donald Trump, who frequently said the 23-year-old trade pact was a "disaster" that has drained United States factories and well-paid manufacturing jobs to Mexico.

Trump made renegotiation of NAFTA a staple of his presidential campaign past year, asserting that the United States was at a disadvantage in trade with its northern and southern neighbors.

Business groups on Thursday warned the Trump administration to avoid putting Nafta's benefits at risk.

"Trade across the NAFTA countries serves both consumers and deeply connected supply chains, providing significant jobs not only in agriculture but in processing and distribution", the statement said. It created a trade agreement between Canada - Mexico and the United States, essentially getting rid of import or export taxes.

Canada and Mexico have only limited room to make deep concessions given their domestic political situations, and Mexico has elections next year that could complicate any protracted talks. Last month, White House aides spread word that President Trump was ready to pull out of the agreement.

The United States officially indicated its intention to renegotiate the trade deal on Wednesday, marking the start of a 90-day consultation window before formal talks get underway.

"NAFTA has helped to boost the global competitiveness of the USA auto industry sector and we support modernizing the agreement in ways that will further strengthen North America as a manufacturing powerhouse, stimulate economic growth and drive job creation", American Automotive Policy Council Inc.

"The net overall effect of NAFTA on the US economy appears to have been relatively modest, primarily because trade with Canada and Mexico accounts for a small percentage of US GDP".

"I don't care if its a renovation of NAFTA, or a brand new NAFTA, but we do have to make it fair", Trump said when he signed an executive order on the trade agreement on January 23.

The Canadian and Mexican governments are prepared for NAFTA renegotiation discussions. "Since it was negotiated the world has changed, we have learned a lot and we can make it better".

However, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the vague NAFTA letter is a stark contrast with the aggressive promises Trump made during his presidential campaign.

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