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US Releases Updated NAFTA Negotiating Objectives

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

24 November 2017

The United States is to seek increased market access for its agriculture industry when renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to an update to the country's negotiating objectives from the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

This is the first update to the NAFTA negotiating objectives, which were published in July 2017.

As well as seeking improved access for agriculture goods, the negotiating objectives now call for new transparency and administrative measures, improvements in the area of investment and intellectual property, and the introduction of chapters on competition and small- and medium-sized enterprises. According to the USTR, the objectives retain the first-ever USTR objective for trade-deficit reduction, in addition to trade distortion prevention measures.

"This update is an important next step in ensuring that the American people continue to know what the Trump Administration is seeking to achieve in a renegotiated NAFTA," said United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. "If we are able to achieve these objectives, we will both modernize and rebalance NAFTA to better serve the interests of our workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses."

The publication of the updated summary is required by the 2015 Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act, which is intended to increase the transparency of the US trade deal negotiation process.

"The American people should not have to rely on anonymous leaks to the media in order to know what their government is purportedly seeking on its behalf," said Wyden in a November 20 statement on the update. "These public summaries are critical to provide a window into the process so that the public - and their representatives in Congress - can provide relevant input into the talks."

To date, the NAFTA countries have held five rounds of negotiations, with the fifth round held November 17-21, 2017.

TAGS: Finance | tax | investment | business | export duty | interest | law | intellectual property | United States | import duty | trade | North America

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