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Trump administration set to rejig NAFTA

By Ians English

Washington, July 18: In a bid to rewrite trade terms, US President Donald Trump's administration has unveiled its goals for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the media reported.

 US President Donald Trump

The administration sent a document on Monday to the Congress that contained a broad list of objectives, including some goals that have been specifically championed by the President, as well as numerous provisions that echo the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), an Obama-era trade agreement that Trump has disparaged, reports The Washington Post.

It said the aim is to improve market access for US manufacturing, agriculture and services in the three-nation deal.

US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer said an updated agreement will include a digital economy chapter and will fold labour and environment obligations, which have remained outside the main agreement, into a final deal, reports The Hill magazine.

Lighthizer said the US will work to eliminate "unfair subsidies, market-distorting practices by state-owned enterprises" and will improve intellectual property protections.

"Too many Americans have been hurt by closed factories, exported jobs and broken political promises," Lighthizer said in a statement. "Under President Trump's leadership, USTR will negotiate a fair deal."

Talks are expected to start in about a month.

Trump has called NAFTA the "worst deal ever" and has threatened to leave the agreement.

The combined goods and services trade deficit with Mexico was $55.6 billion in 2016. The US deficit in goods was $63.2 billion last year, while the services surplus for the US was $7.6 billion in 2016.

The US has a $12.5 billion goods and services surplus with Canada.

The U.S. goods trade deficit with Canada was $12.1 billion in 2016 while the US services trade surplus was $24.6 billion last year.


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