By Brian Bradley / www.americanshipper.com / August 31st, 2018
President Trump sent a notification to Congress required under Trade Promotion Authority that he intends to keep Canada as part of the deal, setting in motion a 90-day clock for the parties to sign the agreement.
President Donald Trump has officially notified Congress that his administration intends to keep NAFTA as a trilateral agreement.
The formal notification sets in motion Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) timelines that require submission of final NAFTA text to Congress within 30 days and executive signature of the agreement within 90 days.
The notification states that the Trump administration intends to enter into the agreement by the end of November.
“Pursuant to [TPA,] I hereby notify the House of Representatives and the Senate that I intend to enter into a trade agreement with Mexico—and with Canada if it is willing, in a timely manner, to meet the high standards for free, fair, and reciprocal trade contained therein,” the notice says.
The notice states that the renegotiated NAFTA will ensure fairer agricultural market conditions and improved market access for U.S. agricultural products in the North American region, and will include new rules of origin for automobiles, trucks, and other products; enforceable labor and environmental rules; and improved intellectual property protections.
“Over the next few weeks, Congress and cleared advisors from civil society and the private sector will be able to examine the agreement,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement. “They will find it has huge benefits for our workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.”
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s negotiating team will meet with Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her colleagues on Wednesday, Lighthizer added.
During a background briefing call on Friday afternoon, a senior administration official emphasized that the parties are undertaking a full renegotiation of the text.
“There have been some indications that some people seem to think it only applies to one or two sectors of the economy, or maybe we just had some kind of a term sheet, and we’re still working through what’s happening,” the official said. “But the truth is we’re on pace to provide a full text that will allow for a new high-standard agreement that will completely update NAFTA across the board.”
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