Nafta to be renegotiated amid assertion by President Trump that it has “failed many Americans”.
Robert Lighthizer, US trade representative, began renegotiating the pact between the US, Canada and Mexico by stating that the US President “Is not interested in a mere tweaking of a few provisions and a couple of updated chapters”, as he began the task of overhauling the 23-year-old trade deal.
The talks, which started this week in Washington, are the first of several rounds to renegotiate the agreement, which Trump has repeatedly referred to as “the worst trade deal” because it is “very, very bad for our companies and for our workers”.
According to the Centre for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University, the US lost around 5.6m manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2010, with 85 per cent of those being the result of technological change, as opposed to international trade. Economists have stated that using trade deficits or surpluses to measure US commercial relations with another single country, as Mr Trump does, ignores the intricacies of trade in today’s global economy, as Lighthizer compared the “relatively balanced trade” between the USA and Mexico prior to the formation of Nafta, compared to now, which has seen trade deficits in the last year totaling nearly $57bn.
Mexico’s Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo said his country believes “Nafta has been a strong success for all parties”, adding that reaching agreeement on a renegotiated agreement will be difficult: “Let’s not be mistaken, the first challenge we have is to find a common ground among the three countries… For a deal to be successful, it has to work for all parties involved; otherwise it is not a deal.”