President not interested in 'mere tweaking' of NAFTA: US Trade Rep

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President not interested in 'mere tweaking' of NAFTA: US Trade Rep

Negotiators from Canada, Mexico and the United States will kick off an ambitious first round of trade talks on Wednesday as the countries try to fast-track a deal to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement by early next year.

"The views of the president about NAFTA, which I completely share, are well-known", he said. "It believes NAFTA has failed workers and that a major overhaul is required, which is exactly what Unifor has been saying for years".

Mexico is keen to maintain preferential access for its goods and services to the United States and Canada, where almost 85 percent of its exports are shipped.

President Trump says NAFTA is a bad idea and that it does very little for the U.S.

While some Mexican agriculture such as large-scale livestock farms and horticulture has flourished under NAFTA, others, especially small scale grains producers, have found it hard to compete with US imports.

"If we start swapping gains for some other business sector, it could be harmful", Duvall said during a press conference with major farm leaders in Mexico and Canada. "Thousands of American factory workers have lost their jobs because of these provisions".

Raising the rules of origin appeared to be one of the Trump administrations primary goals in renegotiating NAFTA. Some of those include: assuring huge trade deficits do not continue, wanting rules of origin on auto and auto parts to require higher NAFTA content, strong labor provisions in the agreement and assuring equal access and reciprocity in government procurement and agriculture.

NAFTA was the first USA trade agreement to include the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) arbitration procedure, Johnson said. The Trump administration is eager to insert provisions addressing currency manipulation.

"The U.S. and Mexico have for several weeks presented their detailed NAFTA priorities, while the Canadian government's "progressive" negotiating objectives remain high on rhetoric but short on specifics", United Steelworkers (USW) National Director Ken Neumann said today. They include President Donald Trump and his commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross.

Administration officials say reducing the US trade deficit is their top priority in crafting a new NAFTA.

The economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, told a Mexican Senate commission last week that he was "delighted to analyze the situation that we call "trade rebalancing" if and when we manage to improve that through expanding trade, not restricting it".

"I want to be clear", Lighthizer said in a Washington hotel as trade delegations and journalists looked on. "In fact, the United States ran a slight surplus with us of $8.1 billion USA dollars".

At a certain point, companies may decide its cheaper to make the auto elsewhere and merely pay the tax required to import cars into the United States - which is relatively low, at 2.5 percent.

Then there's time. Trump wants swift negotiations without too much US concession.

But in April, he pulled back and agreed to discuss "modernising" the North America Free Trade Agreement. In fact, Canada and Mexico account for the two largest export markets for the USA steel industry.

"Of course, we're not going to compete in an unfair process, whereas they use lower labour standards and the fact they don't enforce their laws as a way of course to attract investment", he said.

My hope is that together we will produce a result which moves us to freer markets, fairer and balanced trade, and stronger ties between our three countries.

Apart from Mr Trump's long-touted push for a better overall deal for the U.S., there are a number of specific areas which will be on the negotiating table.

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

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