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  1. #1
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Trump administration takes formal step to launch renegotiation of NAFTA

    Trump administration takes formal step to launch renegotiation of NAFTA

    Don Lee
    May 18, 2017, 8:11 a.m.

    The Trump administration, taking the first formal step toward overhauling the North American Free Trade Agreement, on Thursday notified Congress of its intent to renegotiate the pact with Canada and Mexico in 90 days.

    The letter to lawmakers, sent by the newly confirmed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, means that Trump’s trade officials could launch talks with Canadian and Mexican officials as soon as Aug. 16.

    Lighthizer, during a hastily called telephone briefing with reporters, said that in giving notice to Congress of a 90-day consultation period – which is required under so-called fast-track trade legislation – President Trump was moving to fulfill his promise to “permanently reverse the dangerous trajectory of American trade.”

    During the campaign and as president, Trump repeatedly trashed NAFTA as a “disaster,” calling it the worst trade agreement ever. Just weeks ago, Trump said he was close to issuing an order to withdraw from NAFTA, only to reconsider the action hours later.

    Lighthizer, a veteran trade lawyer and negotiator who was confirmed last week as Trump’s last Cabinet member, on Thursday took a much more conciliatory tone.

    Although Trump has often held out the threat of pulling out of NAFTA, Lighthizer said that his hope and expectation was that such action would not be necessary, noting that “as a starting point for renegotiations, we should build what has worked in NAFTA and change what has not.”

    He called his Mexican and Canadian trade counterparts “tremendously talented individuals,” and said the parties were “all entering the process in good faith.”

    Canada and Mexico are the United States' top trading partners after China. Two-way trade in goods and services between the U.S. and Canada has nearly tripled since NAFTA took effect, and U.S. trade with Mexico has jumped more than six-fold since then. Last year the U.S. had a $62.7 billion trade deficit with Mexico and a $8 billion surplus with Canada.

    Lighthizer said he believed that NAFTA, which took effect in January 1994, had proved successful for some sectors, including investment services, agriculture and energy. But he singled out manufacturing as an area of deficiency, particularly involving Mexico.

    He also noted that the 23-year-old agreement did not include provisions related to digital trade and that matters of the environment were “an afterthought.”

    “Our aim is that NAFTA be modernized,” Lighthizer said in a letter notifying Senate and House leaders of both parties. Among the provisions that Lighthizer cited that would be addressed are intellectual property rights, regulatory practices, state-owned enterprises, labor and environment. The list did not mention currency practices, something that congressional Democrats have sought to be included in trade deals, as have such groups as labor unions and the American Automotive Policy Council, a lobbying group for Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler.

    While lawmakers had anticipated the notification, their reaction to it Thursday reflected a range of attitudes reflecting the complicated trade politics in which Trump will be relying largely on Democratic members to push through significant changes in the agreement.

    Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who represents a border district in the Laredo area, said he was glad to see that the administration was moving to "update NAFTA, not dismantle it."

    Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), calling NAFTA "deeply flawed," commended the step to overhaul the agreement but insisted that "we must see real details on how the administration intends to level the playing field for our workers."

    Many Republican lawmakers have been wary of Trump's anti-free trade rhetoric, and concerned about the risks of hurting the economy in opening up NAFTA.

    "Congress looks forward to working hand-in-hand with the Trump administration to achieve the best deal possible for American workers and our economy," said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

    Lighthizer's letter did not mention specific areas in manufacturing that he planned to address, but Trump and his administration officials, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who with Lighthizer is leading the charge on trade, have been particularly critical of NAFTA's effect on domestic car production and suppliers, many of them now in Mexico.

    Trump’s trade officials also are likely to try to limit Canadian and Mexican companies’ access to U.S. government procurement contracts, and the administration is almost certain to seek the elimination of a provision that allows an arbitration panel to decide complaints about goods that are allegedly dumped or subsidized by governments – a change that Canada in particular is expected to resist.

    Chrystia Freeland, Canada's minister of Foreign Affairs, acknowledging the notification to the U.S. Congress, said Thursday: "“We are at an important juncture that offers us an opportunity to determine how we can best align NAFTA to new realities — and integrate progressive, free and fair approaches to trade and investment."

    The Trump administration recently slapped tariffs on Canadian lumber shipped to the U.S., claiming they are unfairly subsidized, and the two sides have sparred over Canada's dairy import policies.

    Like Canada, Mexico has been preparing for the negotiations by consulting with domestic businesses and other parties. Trump had threatened to levy tariffs on Mexican goods, sparking concerns about a trade war, and bilateral tensions rose earlier this year when Trump insisted that Mexico pay for a wall across the border.

    On Thursday, the Mexican government issued a statement that it "welcomes this important step in the United States’ domestic process to modernize NAFTA. We reaffirm our willingness to update the agreement in order to successfully address the challenges of the 21st century."

    In keeping with Trump’s belief that the U.S. has been short-changed in multilateral trade agreements, Lighthizer said he expected a lot of the negotiations to be bilateral, although he did not take a hardened position on that.

    In the letter to lawmakers released Thursday morning by his office, Lighthizer described the broad goal of opening up NAFTA as getting a deal that would produce higher-paying jobs for Americans and grow the economy. Lighthizer said specific U.S. objectives for a revised NAFTA would be provided to Congress at least 30 days before the start of the talks.

    Lighthizer said he hoped that negotiations could be concluded this year.

    http://www.latimes.com/politics/wash...htmlstory.html
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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Hope things go well and everything possible to protect our manufacturers is incorporated into the new agreement. Wow, it's so exciting, notice to Congress delivered, renegotiation of NAFTA is actually going to happen and soon. Talks by August 16th with plan to Congress ready by July 16th.
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    MW
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    SUNDAY, APRIL 02, 2017
    Trump's Promise to End NAFTA Looking False

    Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams: In yet another broken promise, President Donald Trump appears to be walking back his campaign rhetoric on the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, preparing to deliver what one critic described as "a punch in the face" to those who trusted Trump to make the trade deal better for working people. According to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, a draft proposal being circulated in Congress by the U.S. trade representative's office "would keep most of NAFTA's provisions, including an arbitration panel that lets investors in the three nations circumvent local courts to resolve civil claims." Such panels are regarded with suspicion by environmental, labor, public health, and democracy advocates, who say they put corporate welfare above the public interest. These tribunals allow corporations to punish governments wishing to enforce sensible environmental and public interest regulations by imposing massive monetary damages.

    http://www.drudge.com/news/209899/tr...-looking-false
    Last edited by MW; 05-19-2017 at 12:49 PM.
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    BREAKING: Trump's Weak NAFTA Tweaks Reveal Administration's Trade Hypocrisy

    April 4, 2017


    04 APR 2017
    JAKE

    NOW WHAT?, UNCATEGORIZED


    BREAKING: Trump’s Weak NAFTA Tweaks Reveal Administration’s Trade Hypocrisy


    Despite President Trump’s heated rhetoric against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a recent draft of his plans to modify the pact bears a striking resemblance to the samecorporate-friendly, TPP-like trade agenda that he claimed to oppose during his campaign.

    Last week, the administration’s much-anticipated NAFTA proposal circulated through the halls of Congress, but appeared only to seek modest tweaks to what Trump once called the “worst trade deal” ever. Instead of sweeping changes to stop the offshoring of manufacturing jobs or to eliminate NAFTA’s corporate court system that’s weakening U.S. labor and environmental laws, the plan would expand protections for digital trade and commerce, strengthen intellectual property rights for corporations, and preserve NAFTA’s ban on Buy American programs.

    In response, labor organizations are criticizing the proposal for its similarity to the now-defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was so widely opposed it failed to secure enough votes in Congress. “This plan represents the ultimate betrayal of working people by the Trump Administration,” said Robert Longer, Political Coordinator for the Communications Workers of America, District 9. “In modeling NAFTA renegotiations after the failed TPP, President Trump has made clear that corporate rights take priority over the lives of the American people.”

    Environmental organizations have expressed alarm about Trump’s plans to keep NAFTA’s corporate court system intact, which provides them a forum to challenge labor and climate protections and forces taxpayers to foot the bill for perceived lost profits. “Trump plans to retain NAFTA’s Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions, allowing global corporations to sue countries in front of business-friendly tribunals,” said Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth. “These tribunals allow corporations to punish governments wishing to enforce sensible environmental and public interest regulations by imposing massive monetary damages.”

    “The Trump Administration is blatantly siding with corporations over working people in a process that’s as secretive and undemocratic as the TPP fiasco,” said Aaron Lehmer-Chang, Director of the California Trade Justice Coalition. “Thankfully, people are standing up to Trump’s trade hypocrisy and demanding that the health of our communities and our environment come first.”

    http://catradejustice.org/breaking-t...ade-hypocrisy/












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  5. #5
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MW View Post
    SUNDAY, APRIL 02, 2017
    Trump's Promise to End NAFTA Looking False

    Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams: In yet another broken promise, President Donald Trump appears to be walking back his campaign rhetoric on the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, preparing to deliver what one critic described as "a punch in the face" to those who trusted Trump to make the trade deal better for working people. According to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, a draft proposal being circulated in Congress by the U.S. trade representative's office "would keep most of NAFTA's provisions, including an arbitration panel that lets investors in the three nations circumvent local courts to resolve civil claims." Such panels are regarded with suspicion by environmental, labor, public health, and democracy advocates, who say they put corporate welfare above the public interest. These tribunals allow corporations to punish governments wishing to enforce sensible environmental and public interest regulations by imposing massive monetary damages.

    http://www.drudge.com/news/209899/tr...-looking-false
    LOL!! Lefties proved wrong again. Trump is definitely going to renegotiate NAFTA. Anyone who thought on April 2, weeks before Trump's US Trade Representative was confirmed on May 11, that anything coming out of the "US Trade Office" had anything to do with our new President or his plan for NAFTA wasn't paying attention.

    MW, why exactly did you post this old article that has nothing to do with our new Administration or Trump's plan on NAFTA? People have to know a great deal about what's going on not to be fooled by articles like the one you posted.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MW View Post
    BREAKING: Trump's Weak NAFTA Tweaks Reveal Administration's Trade Hypocrisy

    April 4, 2017


    04 APR 2017
    JAKE

    NOW WHAT?, UNCATEGORIZED


    BREAKING: Trump’s Weak NAFTA Tweaks Reveal Administration’s Trade Hypocrisy


    Despite President Trump’s heated rhetoric against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a recent draft of his plans to modify the pact bears a striking resemblance to the samecorporate-friendly, TPP-like trade agenda that he claimed to oppose during his campaign.

    Last week, the administration’s much-anticipated NAFTA proposal circulated through the halls of Congress, but appeared only to seek modest tweaks to what Trump once called the “worst trade deal” ever. Instead of sweeping changes to stop the offshoring of manufacturing jobs or to eliminate NAFTA’s corporate court system that’s weakening U.S. labor and environmental laws, the plan would expand protections for digital trade and commerce, strengthen intellectual property rights for corporations, and preserve NAFTA’s ban on Buy American programs.

    In response, labor organizations are criticizing the proposal for its similarity to the now-defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was so widely opposed it failed to secure enough votes in Congress. “This plan represents the ultimate betrayal of working people by the Trump Administration,” said Robert Longer, Political Coordinator for the Communications Workers of America, District 9. “In modeling NAFTA renegotiations after the failed TPP, President Trump has made clear that corporate rights take priority over the lives of the American people.”

    Environmental organizations have expressed alarm about Trump’s plans to keep NAFTA’s corporate court system intact, which provides them a forum to challenge labor and climate protections and forces taxpayers to foot the bill for perceived lost profits. “Trump plans to retain NAFTA’s Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions, allowing global corporations to sue countries in front of business-friendly tribunals,” said Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth. “These tribunals allow corporations to punish governments wishing to enforce sensible environmental and public interest regulations by imposing massive monetary damages.”

    “The Trump Administration is blatantly siding with corporations over working people in a process that’s as secretive and undemocratic as the TPP fiasco,” said Aaron Lehmer-Chang, Director of the California Trade Justice Coalition. “Thankfully, people are standing up to Trump’s trade hypocrisy and demanding that the health of our communities and our environment come first.”

    http://catradejustice.org/breaking-t...ade-hypocrisy/












    Why are you posting this old outdated inapplicable garbage?? Trump's US Trade Representative was just confirmed May 11, a week ago. Anything floating in Congress on April 4, was Obama Crap.
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    MW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    LOL!! Lefties proved wrong again. Trump is definitely going to renegotiate NAFTA. Anyone who thought on April 2, weeks before Trump's US Trade Representative was confirmed on May 11, that anything coming out of the "US Trade Office" had anything to do with our new President or his plan for NAFTA wasn't paying attention.

    MW, why exactly did you post this old article that has nothing to do with our new Administration or Trump's plan on NAFTA? People have to know a great deal about what's going on not to be fooled by articles like the one you posted.
    The article was published in April, which means it's not that old. Furthermore, from what I can tell it is still accurate. I beleive Trump is weakening on NAFTA because of influence from the corporate business interest in our nation. I say abolish NAFTA in its entirety. If President Trump wants to negotiate a deal, let him start from scratch!

    Oh, and this most certainly wasn't "Obama crap" ... It's coming straight out of the Trump administration.
    Last edited by MW; 05-19-2017 at 12:51 PM.

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    MW
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    Perhaps this article dated May 18th will meet your standards of being more recent, Judy.


    Trump Sends Nafta Renegotiation Notice to Congress


    2017-05-18 14:45:02 indabusiness.com




    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration gave Congress official notice on Thursday that it plans to renegotiate Nafta, but provided only the vaguest of hints about modest changes President Trump would seek to an agreement that he has called “the worst trade deal ever.”

    In a brief letter to lawmakers, Robert Lighthizer, the newly confirmed United States trade representative, said the administration aimed to support better-paying jobs and economic growth through unspecified improvements to Nafta that would modernize the 23-year-old agreement. But the notice — a drastically scaled-back version of a draft the administration circulated this year — promised no major modifications of the sort that the president has hinted he will seek.

    Mr. Trump had threatened to withdraw completely from the agreement, only to relent in late April when the leaders of Canada and Mexico, the other parties to the deal, called and asked him to renegotiate instead.

    The president, whose campaign trail vows to tear up Nafta appealed to his base of disaffected working-class voters aggrieved by globalization, is under mounting pressure to follow through on his pledge. But Mr. Trump faces stiff resistance from business-minded Republicans in Congress and sectors that fear major changes would harm their bottom lines.

    “Today, President Trump fulfilled one of his key promises to the American people,” Mr. Lighthizer said on Thursday. “For years, politicians have called for the renegotiation of this agreement, but President Trump is the first to follow through with that promise.”

    The move was met with skepticism by organizations that have long pressed for major changes to Nafta and have argued that Mr. Trump had already fallen short of his promises on trade.

    “Donald Trump promised that he’d fix Nafta on his first day in office,” Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, an environmental group, said in a statement. “One hundred and nineteen days later, he has managed to send Congress a two-page letter that fails to include any real plan to fix a deal that has undermined environmental protections, eliminated jobs, undercut wages, polluted our air and water, and fueled climate change.”

    The page-long letter stood in stark contrast to an eight-page version circulated on Capitol Hill in March, which proposed adding a provision to allow tariffs to be reinstated if a flood of imports threatened to harm a domestic industry. It also said the Trump administration would seek to adjust the agreement’s rules of origin, or how much of a product must be made in a Nafta country.

    The notice sent on Thursday instead mentioned repeatedly that any changes would be the result of congressional consultation, and it pledged close coordination and “transparency” with lawmakers throughout the renegotiation process. It laid out the framework for the talks in only the most general of terms. The letter was required under a law that mandates that the president give Congress at least 90 days’ notice before opening a trade negotiation.

    “In particular, we note that Nafta was negotiated 25 years ago, and while our economy and businesses have changed considerably over that period, Nafta has not,” Mr. Lighthizer said in the letter.

    He noted that “digital trade” had barely begun when the agreement took effect. And new provisions will be needed, he said, to address intellectual property rights, state-owned enterprises, and labor and environmental measures.

    “Moreover, establishing effective implementation and aggressive enforcement of the commitments made by our trading partners under our trade agreements is vital to the success of those agreements and should be improved in the context of Nafta,” Mr. Lighthizer said.

    Mexico’s Economy Ministry released a statement welcoming the announcement, although it did not address any of the specific issues outlined in the letter Mr. Lighthizer sent to Congress. “Mexico reaffirms its willingness to update Nafta to face the challenges of the 21st century,” it said. “The countries of North America deserve a modern instrument to regulate their trade relations.”

    Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said: “We are prepared. We are ready.”

    Mexican officials have been eager to begin the negotiations with an eye to concluding them before Mexico’s presidential election campaign begins next year.
    Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, and his cabinet ministers have repeatedly said that Canada welcomes the opportunity to renegotiate and modernize Nafta. The Canadian government did so again on Thursday.

    “We are at an important juncture that offers us an opportunity to determine how we can best align Nafta to new realities — and integrate progressive, free and fair approaches to trade and investment,” said Chrystia Freeland, the minister of foreign affairs who has been charged by Mr. Trudeau to focus on relations with the Trump administration. “We are steadfastly committed to free trade in the North American region and to ensuring that the benefits of trade are enjoyed by all Canadians.”

    Canadians have long had their own problems with the trade agreement. The country has frequently been at the losing end of challenges brought under the agreement by American corporations.

    http://indabusiness.com/news/view/12...ion-trump.html


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  9. #9
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    It's all Obama Crap. Trump's US Trade Representative was just confirmed on May 11. So whatever was floating through Congress in April from the US Trade Office was sent there by Obama's people, not Trump's.

    Trump's Plan for the Renegotiation will be outlined to Congress in 60 days on July 16 with talks with Canada and Mexico to begin August 16.
    Last edited by Judy; 05-19-2017 at 12:43 PM.
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  10. #10
    MW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    It's all Obama Crap. Trump's US Trade Representative was just confirmed on May 11. So whatever was floating through Congress in April from the US Trade Office was sent there by Obama's people, not Trump's.
    You're mistaken on this. Read the article again, please. The information is coming directly from the Trump administration.

    Excerpt:

    "Despite President Trump’s heated rhetoric against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a recent draft of his plans to modify the pact bears a striking resemblance to the samecorporate-friendly, TPP-like trade agenda that he claimed to oppose during his campaign.

    Last week, the administration’s much-anticipated NAFTA proposal circulated through the halls of Congress, but appeared only to seek modest tweaks to what Trump once called the “worst trade deal” ever. Instead of sweeping changes to stop the offshoring of manufacturing jobs or to eliminate NAFTA’s corporate court system that’s weakening U.S. labor and environmental laws, the plan would expand protections for digital trade and commerce, strengthen intellectual property rights for corporations, and preserve NAFTA’s ban on Buy American programs."

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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