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White House Outlines NAFTA Renegotiation Priorities

Apr 2017

Acting U.S. Trade Representative Stephen Vaughn has sent a letter to the U.S. House and Senate, notifying Congress of President Trump’s intent to begin negotiations on possible changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In an effort to belay the fears of some policy makers, the letter notes the administration’s intent to work closely with Congress in developing negotiating positions to ensure consistency with Congressional priorities.  Mr. Vaughn also expressed the administration’s commitment to engage US trading partners on a bilateral instead of a multilateral basis.  U.S. trade negotiations have typically involved concurrent negotiations between multiple nations as opposed to one-on-one.

The letter also acknowledged America’s strong trading partnership with Mexico and Canada and vowed to implement changes that would make it more profitable to manufacture in North America. 

“The persistent U.S. deficit in goods trade with Canada and Mexico demands that this administration take swift action to revise the relationship to reflect and respond to new 21st century challenges.  The NAFTA was negotiated 25 years ago and while our economy and businesses have changed considerable over that period, the NAFTA has not.  Most chapters are clearly outdated and do not reflect he most recent standards in U.S. trade agreements.  For example, digital trade was in its infancy in 1994.  Labor and environment were an afterthought to the Agreement.  Rules for intellectual property rights, state-owned enterprises, rules of origin, customs procedures, and ensuring the benefits of trade benefit small and medium businesses have all been improved in newer trade agreements.  Effective implementation and enforcement of trade agreements is also much more critical today than a general ago, and an area where much can be done.”

As the Trump Administration prepares to renegotiate trade deals like NAFTA, VI is working with our industry partners to monitor the trade negotiations and provide assistance to the Trump Administration as negotiations progress.  Please join us for the 2017 Vinyl Industry Congressional Fly-in on May 17 & 18 to discuss this, and other important issues, with policy makers in Washington.