US makes lower trade deficit a priority in NAFTA renegotiation

US makes lower trade deficit a priority in NAFTA renegotiation

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The U.S. government revealed its plans for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, stating that its key objective is to reduce the trade deficit with Canada and Mexico 

The 18-page document from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) suggests also a new chapter on digital economy at the time it seeks to eliminate another that allows Canada and Mexico to challenge U.S. anti-dumping duties by turning to an independent panel of arbiters.

The Trump administration also said it plans to set up an “appropriate mechanism” to ensure countries avoid manipulating their exchange rate to gain an advantage on trade.

On the matter of rules of origin, which set a limit on the value of non-North-American-made components that can go into goods and receive NAFTA’s duty-free treatment, no quantitative target is specified in the document, it just calls for an “update and strengthen” of such rules.

On labor, the USTR said it would require NAFTA countries to adopt internationally accepted standards that call for the right to organize and abolish compulsory labor, as well as setting “acceptable” pay and work conditions, something many labor advocates have wanted, especially for Mexico.

You can read the whole document in PDF format here.


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