The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a trade deal that President Trump has been highly critical of, especially while campaigning. Trump once referred to NAFTA as the “worst trade deal” ever signed by the United States and promised to pull the U.S. out if he was elected. Since that time, his position has softened and after discussions with the Canadian Prime Minister and the Mexican President, Trump has agreed to renegotiate the agreement instead of scrap it altogether. Talks to renegotiate NAFTA will begin next week with Mexican and Canadian officials. Renegotiating NAFTA will be a major undertaking, as the agreement was written 23 years ago, and much has changed – especially in the technology sector.
Bob Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is leading the renegotiations for the U.S. and has said that Americans should expect a major overhaul of the agreement. He stated, “We feel that NAFTA has fundamentally failed many many Americans and needs major improvement.” The USTR has listed some goals for the renegotiation, including: improving conditions for workers, producing more goods in North America, and reducing the trade deficits. Some trade experts worry about the risk to opening up renegotiations of NAFTA, as Canada and Mexico will also have demands and goals for improving trade in their countries. And while Mr. Lighthizer is an experienced negotiator from the Reagan era, few officials in the Trump Administration have experience with NAFTA.