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Trump Administration Announces Intent To Renegotiate NAFTA


U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer sent a letter to Congress on Thursday officially informing lawmakers of President Donald Trump's intent to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Lighthizer said the administration seeks to renegotiate NAFTA in order to support higher-paying jobs in the U.S. and grow the economy by improving opportunities under the trade deal.

"Today, President Trump fulfilled one of his key promises to the American people," Lighthizer said in a statement. "For years, politicians have called for the renegotiation of this agreement, but President Trump is the first to follow through with that promise."

He added, "USTR will now continue consultations with Congress and American stakeholders to create an agreement that advances the interests of America's workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses."

Lighthizer noted in his letter to Congress that the economy and businesses have changed considerably in the 25 years since NAFTA was negotiated but the agreement has not.

Sending the letter begins a 90-day period for the administration to develop its negotiating positions before negotiations with Canada and Mexico can officially begin.

Trump regularly offered harsh criticism of NAFTA during the presidential campaign, calling it the "worst trade deal in the history of the world."

However, a group of eighteen Republican Senators sent a letter to Lighthizer earlier this week stressing the positive economic impact of NAFTA.

The letter claimed NAFTA has led to tremendous growth in U.S. trade with Mexico and Canada, integrated cross-border supply chains that benefit U.S. employers, and more than tripled U.S. exports of goods and services.

"Given that the agreement is more than two decades old, there are areas in which NAFTA will benefit from strengthening and modernization," the GOP senators wrote.

They added, "On the other hand, efforts to abandon the agreement or impose unnecessary restrictions on trade with our North American partners will have devastating economic consequences."

The senators, led by Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said they will maintain a keen interest in the on-going process surrounding NAFTA and said they look forward to working with Lighthizer.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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