NAFTA an opportunity to improve trade deal for Ontario: Wynne

TPP's objective was precisely to establish a modern approach to free trade by encompassing new products and services - sectors in which the US has most to gain - and by making labor and environmental standards easier to enforce. It proposes "modernization" of the agreement, with new provisions on digital trade, intellectual-property rights, labor and environmental standards, regulatory measures and so on.

"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. Negotiations with Canada and Mexico will begin no earlier than August 16, 2017.

The letter triggers a 90-day review process that's required before talks with Mexico and Canada begin over specific changes in the three-country trade deal.

The announcement coincided with a meeting in Washington involving US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and their Mexican counterparts, Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray and Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, respectively. "Since it was negotiated the world has changed, we have learned a lot and we can make it better".

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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says he is putting Congress and trading partners on notice that "free and fair" trade is the new standard in the U.S. "NAFTA is a trilateral agreement and the conversations need to be trilateral in nature".

"The planned negotiations should not weaken or undermine Nafta given its many benefits for the United States", the letter said.

Like most USA congressional Republicans, Mexican and Canadian officials are also wary of major changes that could hurt their exports to the US or even alter the three-way framework that underpins Nafta.

"NAFTA's track record is one of economic growth and middle-class job creation", Canada's minister of foreign affairs, Chrystia Freeland, said in a statement.
When the rules are fair and the playing field is level, USA agriculture will succeed and lead the world.

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Trump has pledged to use the Nafta talks to shrink goods trade deficits that stood at $63 billion (€56.5 billion) with Mexico and $11 billion with Canada a year ago, according to USA census bureau data. During the 1992 presidential campaign, independent candidate Ross Perot famously predicted a "giant sucking sound" as NAFTA pulled US factory jobs south of the border into Mexico. However, there were worker and firm adjustment costs as the three countries adjusted to more open trade and investment.

During phone calls with the leaders of Mexico and Canada last month, Trump said he agreed not to terminate the NAFTA "at this time" but would proceed swiftly to renegotiate it with the other two countries.

Just three weeks ago Trump reneged on his vow to completely withdraw from Nafta, which represents a significant amount of USA exports and imports.

Negotiated by President George H.W. Bush and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, NAFTA took effect on January 1, 1994. The agreement eliminated numerous tariffs on trade between the US, Canada and Mexico.

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