U.S. Begins Nafta Negotiations With Harsh Words from Trump Toadies

A “Fair & Level Playing Field” means the U.S. gets their way and our partners take what’s given to them

Robert Lighthizer, center, the United States trade representative, at the initial round of Nafta talks in Washington on Wednesday, said that the pact had “fundamentally failed many, many Americans.” Credit Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters..

The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement known as NAFTA 2.0 is off to a rocky start thanks to arrogant and harsh words from Trumps trade rep Robert Lighthizer

Lighthizer, lectured Canada and Mexico on the failures of the current agreement at an opening news conference Wednesday morning, while behind closed doors negotiators began to seek significant concessions from America’s neighbors.

“We feel that Nafta has fundamentally failed many, many Americans and needs major improvement,” said Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, who is leading the United States team aiming to overhaul the 25-year-old agreement.

The Canadian and Mexican representatives were publicly pleasant, emphasizing their commitment to regional trade and the benefits resulting from a regional alliance. But both nations also say the current agreement is not tilted against the United States.

The talks that began Wednesday are the first of several scheduled rounds between now and the end of the year, when the three nations hope to conclude a deal. It is a very fast timetable in the world of international negotiations, reflecting political imperatives in all three nations more than the practical realities of an immensely complex negotiation.

The Canadian and Mexican representatives were publicly pleasant, emphasizing their commitment to regional trade and the benefits resulting from a regional alliance. But both nations also say the current agreement is not tilted against the United States.

Both Mexico and the United States have national elections scheduled next year.



The overarching issue is the importance of trade deficits. Americans buy more goods and services from Mexico than Mexicans buy from the United States. Last year, the difference was $55.6 billion. The Trump administration regards this number as an indictment of the current trade deal — evidence that Mexico is taking advantage of the United States.

And of course, for the Teamsters and OOIDA, banning Mexican trucks and drivers from the United States is at the top of the agenda, something Mexico, with the support of Canada will strenuously fight to prevent



This post is part of the thread: NAFTA 2.0 – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.