US lays out goals for NAFTA overhaul

    17 de julio de 2017

    Washington, Jul 17 (efe-epa).- The US government released Monday an outline of what it hopes to achieve from upcoming talks with Mexico and Canada on revising the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

    President Donald Trump has been outspoken in his criticism of NAFTA and publicly toyed with the idea of scrapping the pact before deciding to renegotiate it instead.

    Washington's chief priorities will be to reduce the trade deficit with the NAFTA partners and to improve US producers' access to the Canadian and Mexican markets, the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said in a statement.

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

    The US trade balance with Mexico was transformed from a $1.3 billion surplus in 1994 to a deficit of $64 billion last year, according to the statement.

    This is the first time Washington has embarked on trade negotiations with the explicit aim of reducing the US trade deficit, the USTR said.

    Turning to specifics, the statement said that US negotiators would work to "eliminate unfair subsidies, market-distorting practices by state-owned enterprises, and burdensome restrictions on intellectual property."

    Talks are set to begin Aug. 16 and all three governments hope to reach agreement ahead of Mexico's 2018 presidential campaign.

    The USTR's release of the list of objectives coincided with an event at the White House kicking off the Trump administration's "Made in America" week.

    Products from all 50 states were exhibited on the White House grounds.

    "Every member of my administration shares the same goal, to provide a level playing field for American workers," the president said after a tour of the exhibits that included climbing into the driver's seat of a fire engine.

    "When we purchase products made in the USA, the profits stay here, the revenue stays here and the jobs - probably most importantly of all - they stay right here in the USA," Trump said.