May 18, 2017
by Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON—Making good on a campaign promise, the Trump administration is informing Congress that it intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.
U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer has sent a letter to congressional leaders, starting 90 days of consultations with lawmakers over how to revamp the pact. Talks with Canada and Mexico can begin after that.
During the campaign, Donald Trump called NAFTA “a disaster.” Last month, White House aides spread word that President Trump was ready to pull out of the agreement. Within hours, the president reversed course, saying he’d seek a better deal first.
“We are going to give renegotiation a good strong shot,” Lighthizer says, noting that the 23-year-old agreement needs to better protect American factory workers and to reflect new technologies.
U.S. 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.
He says the U.S. manufacturing industry has been decimated by NAFTA, a deal the White House considers deeply unfair.
Last month, White House aides indicated he was ready to pull out of the agreement, but within hours, the president reversed course, saying he’d seek a better deal first.
More to come