Office of the United States Trade Representative | 17 July 2017
Summary of objectives for the NAFTA renegotiation
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) entered into force over 23 years ago, and since that time, the U.S. economy and global trading relationships have undergone substantial changes.
The America that existed when NAFTA was signed is not the America that we see today. Some Americans have benefited from new market access provided by the Agreement. It contributed to the linking of the continent through trade, while at the same time NAFTA provided much needed market access for American farmers and ranchers.
But NAFTA also created new problems for many American workers. Since the deal came into force in 1994, trade deficits have exploded, thousands of factories have closed, and millions of Americans have found themselves stranded, no longer able to utilize the skills for which they had been trained. For years, politicians promising to renegotiate the deal gave American workers hope that they would stop the bleeding. But none followed up.
In June 2016, then-candidate Donald J. Trump made a promise to the American people: he would renegotiate NAFTA or take us out of the agreement. As President, he immediately started work to fulfill that promise. The first NAFTA consultations began just a few weeks after the President took office.
On May 18th, President Trump became the first American president to begin renegotiating a comprehensive free trade agreement like NAFTA. At the direction of the President, and following more than three months of Administration consultations with Congress, U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer announced the Administration’s intention to renegotiate the deal.
Since Ambassador Lighthizer notified Congress of the renegotiation, USTR has been conducting extensive consultations with Congress, stakeholders, and the public at large. President Trump is listening.
The Trump Administration has held dozens of meetings to solicit advice and input. In addition, USTR sought public comments and received more than 12,000 responses. Finally, USTR held three days of public hearings on the negotiations and heard from more than 140 witnesses, who provided testimony on a wide range of sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, services, and digital trade. During this process, the Administration received valuable advice which has directly impacted the development of the negotiating objectives.
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