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US Kickstarts NAFTA Renegotiation Process

Friday, May 19, 2017

The new United States Trade Representative has formally informed Congress of the Trump Administration's intention to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The notification from Robert Lighthizer, recently sworn in as USTR, begins a 90-day public consultation period, after which negotiations between the US, Canada, and Mexico could begin. It has been confirmed negotiations will begin no earlier than August 16, 2017.

During this 90-day period, the Trump Administration will seek to agree with Congress negotiating priorities, as any new NAFTA text would be expedited under Trade Promotion Authority; the new text would be put to Congress for a yes or no vote, without the possibility of amendments.

Ron Wyden, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance, described the letter as "disappointingly vague in many areas with respect to the results the Administration wants to achieve," and expressed hope that further details would be outlined soon by Lighthizer ahead of the final month of the consultation period.