Lunes, 29 May, 2017

German Minister Urges US To Back NAFTA During Mexico Visit

NAFTA Map States that supported Donald Trump in the election have the most to lose if NAFTA ends
Eleena Tovar | 20 May, 2017, 12:30

The ink had barely dried on the Trump administration's notice of its intent to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement when farm groups began issuing press releases that basically said "Do no harm".

In a May 18 letter, newly appointed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Congress that Trump plans to initiate negotiations with Canada and Mexico regarding NAFTA within 90 days. A few weeks ago, he was weighing whether to pull out of the deal entirely.

Under Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which Congress approved in June 2015 and which covers trade agreements reached before July 1, 2018, the administration is required to give lawmakers 90-days' notice prior to entering talks on a trade deal that would require changes in US law needed to comply with the agreement.

Most farm leaders agree the 23-year-old NAFTA needs to be updated, but they continue to emphasize the importance of agricultural exports, particularly to NAFTA-partner Mexico, to US farmers and ranchers who are enduring one of the most severe downturns in the farm economy in the last 20 years. That's why the public and Members of Congress must hold him accountable and demand that the Administration renegotiate NAFTA in a way that protects American workers and raises wages. "The jobs of 2 million manufacturing workers depend on trade with Canada and Mexico".

Meanwhile, the letter he sent to lawmakers to kickstart consultations omitted numerous thorny points cited in an earlier draft, such as leveling the playing field on tax treatment and bulking up "Buy America" procurement provisions - goals that might meet stiff resistance from Canada and Mexico. "We look forward to working with Ambassador Lighthizer and other Trump Administration officials during the renegotiation process to provide helpful data and input".

Videgaray's comments come a day after President Donald Trump prompted a 90-day countdown to negotiations regarding the trade agreement. "President Trump is going to change that", Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement Thursday.

A quick turnaround on NAFTA would be a much-needed win for the embattled president, who learned this week that former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller will investigate Russia's role in the 2016 election and possible links to the Trump campaign. America's farmers and ranchers value them as customers and trade partners.

"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.

"Many chapters are outdated and do not reflect modern standards", he said. Still, "it's important that Mexico prepare its strategy for any scenario", she said. "Our integrated economies and supply chains support millions of jobs across the continent", she said. "You would strand a lot of USA company investments".

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. If you aren't here this year, make it next year. In fact, US manufacturing exports to Canada and Mexico have increased almost 260 percent over the past 23 years, and USA farm exports to the countries have grown by more than 150 percent. While U.S. politicians have called the tax an unfair subsidy, Mexico argues the system is in line with worldwide trade rules. The dairy groups have also continued to call for improving market access to Canada and tackling that country's expanding list of protectionist policies and other barriers to USA dairy exports.

"With this first step, I now encourage the administration to swiftly commence modernization negotiations with our NAFTA partners and prioritize their quick conclusion", said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. The administration will measure success in terms of its ability to stop US companies from building plants in Mexico, and reducing the $62-billion deficit with that nation, he said.

Among other economic and trade relationships established under NAFTA, the agreement created the TN nonimmigrant classification, which allows certain citizens of Canada and Mexico to work temporarily in the United States in a professional capacity.

However, according to Wallach, Trump invited the 500 corporate trade advisers who helped shape the TPP to the late March NAFTA meeting, while labor was shut out.

Negotiations will enter a very sensitive environment.

Canada expressed support for NAFTA and said it is already prepared to negotiate.

Lighthizer declined to say whether withdrawal from NAFTA is still on the table, but said he hopes withdrawal is not necessary.