Trump administration unveils NAFTA renegotiating goals

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Washington, July 18 (IANS) US President Donald Trump’s administration has unveiled its goals for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), issuing a plan for how it hopes to rewrite trade terms and transform the American economy, the media reported.

The administration sent a document on Monday to the Congress that contained a broad list of objectives, including some goals that have been specifically championed by the President, as well as numerous provisions that echo the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), an Obama-era trade agreement that Trump has disparaged, reports The Washington Post.

It said the aim is to improve market access for US manufacturing, agriculture and services in the three-nation deal.

US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer said an updated agreement will include a digital economy chapter and will fold labour and environment obligations, which have remained outside the main agreement, into a final deal, reports The Hill magazine.

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Lighthizer said the US will work to eliminate “unfair subsidies, market-distorting practices by state-owned enterprises” and will improve intellectual property protections.

“Too many Americans have been hurt by closed factories, exported jobs and broken political promises,” Lighthizer said in a statement. “Under President Trump’s leadership, USTR will negotiate a fair deal.”

Talks are expected to start in about a month.

Trump has called NAFTA the “worst deal ever” and has threatened to leave the agreement.

The combined goods and services trade deficit with Mexico was $55.6 billion in 2016. The US deficit in goods was $63.2 billion last year, while the services surplus for the US was $7.6 billion in 2016.

The US has a $12.5 billion goods and services surplus with Canada.

The U.S. goods trade deficit with Canada was $12.1 billion in 2016 while the US services trade surplus was $24.6 billion last year.

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