WASHINGTON—A modernized North American Free Trade Agreement, ensuring the highest fair trade standards covering the broadest possible range of goods and services, is the Trump administration's goal for NAFTA reauthorization.
This was the gist of the "Summary of Objectives for the NAFTA Renegotiation," issued by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on July 17.
The USTR document was greeted by a wide range of comments. The United Steelworkers union, which has recently opposed international trade agreements, said NAFTA renegotiation must concentrate on protecting the livelihoods and rights of workers.
Meanwhile, the North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO), a Dallas-based coalition whose hundreds of members include Bridgestone Americas and the Michigan Department of Transportation, said the renegotiation is an opportunity to optimize North America's competitiveness worldwide.
"The America that existed when NAFTA was signed (in 1994) is not the America that we see today," said the introduction to the USTR summary.
NAFTA linked the continent through trade, and also provided much-needed market access for American farmers and ranchers, the summary said. But it also caused trade deficits to skyrocket and thousands of factories to close, it said.
"The new NAFTA must continue to break down barriers to American exports," the summary said. "This includes the elimination of unfair subsidies, market-distorting practices by state-owned enterprises and burdensome restrictions of intellectual property.
"The new NAFTA will be modernized to reflect 21st-century standards and will reflect a fairer deal, addressing America's persistent trade imbalances in North America," it said.