President Trump laid out his demands Monday for a new North American Free Trade Agreement, setting the stage for rounds of negotiations among U.S., Canadian and Mexican officials to overhaul the landmark treaty that dictates the nations’ cross-border commerce.
The administration’s agenda was required to be sent by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to Congress at least 30 days before negotiations began.
NAFTA, drafted in 1994 and signed by the Clinton administration, created a free trade zone in North America by eliminating most tariffs and encouraging the unimpeded flow of products that many economists say has benefited its member nations. Dismantling it would lead to lost business opportunities and massive operational disruption for American companies, its proponents say.
Trump and other global trade skeptics, including many labor unions, say it has led to hemorrhaging of domestic manufacturing jobs and depressed wages.
“The new NAFTA must continue to break down barriers to American exports,” according to a summary of Trump’s agenda posted on the USTR’s website. “This include the elimination of unfair subsidies, market-disorienting practices by state-owned enterprises, and burdensome restrictions of intellectual property. The new NAFTA will be modernized to reflect 21st century standards and will reflect a fairer deal,…