On July 17th, the Office of the United States Trade Representative circulated the Administration’s Summary of Objectives for the NAFTA Renegotiation, a statutory prerequisite of US Trade Promotion Authority. By all accounts, the Administration is firm in its determination to move forward with the planning for initial talks with Ottawa and Mexico City in mid-August.

  • The USTR Summary provides broad negotiating objectives that the Administration will pursue on a variety of industry sectors and trade topics.

As in the case of Ottawa and Mexico City, the Office of the USTR continues to consult with US industry on specific recommendations ranging from modified rules of origin to expansion of IP protection.

  • Prior to its release, the USTR received over 12,000 comments from US business leaders, trade associations and public officials.
  • Canada has extended its time period for public comments and Mexico continues to consult with its domestic stakeholders.

Congressional approval (and oversight) of the NAFTA renegotiation strategy also began in earnest. On July 18th, the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee heard testimony from a variety of witnesses.

  • Committees with sectoral interests, e.g. Agricultural Committees, are expected to schedule hearings in the weeks to follow.
  • Both the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Chair of the Trade Subcommittee, Dave Reichert (R-WA) expressed support for the NAFTA re-negotiations.

On July 19th, the Office of USTR announced that the first round of NAFTA negotiations will be held in Washington August 16 through August 20th. John Melle, the Assistant USTR for the Western Hemisphere has been chosen as the US Chief Negotiator.

The USTR announcement of the NAFTA renegotiations first round is available here.