Date
22 October 2017
Washington wants NAFTA partners to ensure improved access for American goods, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says. Photo: Reuters
Washington wants NAFTA partners to ensure improved access for American goods, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says. Photo: Reuters

US unveils negotiating strategy for NAFTA revision

The United States on Monday unveiled a tough negotiating strategy for revising the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), vowing, among other things, to deter currency manipulation by trading partners.

In a document sent to lawmakers ahead of talks expected next month, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the Trump administration aims to reduce the nation’s trade deficit by improving access for US goods exported to Canada and Mexico, Reuters reports.

The document asserts that no country should manipulate currency exchange to gain an unfair competitive advantage.

Among the priorities, Lighthizer said the administration will seek to eliminate a trade dispute mechanism that has largely prohibited the US from pursuing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases against Canadian and Mexican firms.

It also plans to eliminate a range of non-tariff barriers to US agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico. These include subsidies and unfair pricing structures.

USTR said it would seek to strengthen NAFTA’s rules of origin to ensure that the pact’s benefits do not go to outside countries and to “incentivize” the sourcing of US goods.

The 17-page summary of negotiations for NAFTA offers a glimpse into what a Trump administration trade agenda could look like. 

While Canada and Mexico are not considered currency manipulators, the reference in the list of objectives could set a template for future trade deals such as a pending negotiation to modify a five-year-old US-South Korea free trade deal, Reuters noted.

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RC

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