• US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has said the current NAFTA is a "seriously flawed trade deal".
  • He added the Trump Administration is committed to getting the best possible trade agreement for all Americans. 
  • Meanwhile, President Trump has underscored the importance of quickly concluding an agreement.
 “The current NAFTA is a seriously flawed trade deal, and the Trump Administration is committed to getting the best possible trade agreement for all Americans," said Lighthizer

“The current NAFTA is a seriously flawed trade deal, and the Trump Administration is committed to getting the best possible trade agreement for all Americans," said Lighthizer

The US has once again outlined the importance of quickly concluding negotiations to modernise and rebalance the "seriously flawed" North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In a statement published yesterday (14 May), US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer discussed how the US, Mexico and Canada have engaged in "intensive, continuous discussions" to renegotiate NAFTA for many weeks.

The talks build on the seven rounds of negotiations that have taken place since August 2017.

In March, following the last round of talks which were held in Mexico City, Lighthizer observed that in spite of the hard work made by negotiators, "we have not made the progress that many had hoped in this round."

The talks saw the closure of three additional chapters: Good Regulatory Practices, Administration and Publication, and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, but in order to complete NAFTA 2.0, negotiators will need agreement on roughly 30 chapters. 

"So far, after seven months we have completed just six," Lighthizer warned, but conceded that "these things tend to converge more towards the end of a negotiation."

Now, the US Trade Representative says the most recent negotiations have covered a large number of "very complex issues", especially those objectives outlined by Congress as part of the bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority such as intellectual property, dairy and agriculture, de minimis levels, energy, labour and more.

He added: "The current NAFTA is a seriously flawed trade deal, and the Trump Administration is committed to getting the best possible trade agreement for all Americans. The United States is ready to continue working with Mexico and Canada to achieve needed breakthroughs on these objectives.  Our teams will continue to be fully engaged."

Meanwhile, a statement published by the White House yesterday said President Trump had spoken with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada to address the renegotiation of NAFTA.

While the release did not detail the points of discussion between the two, it did say that Trump underscored the importance of quickly concluding an agreement.

Earlier this month, while speaking at the US Chamber of Commerce, Lighthizer said he would like to finalise an agreement by the end of May.

Meanwhile, a recent study has found withdrawing from NAFTA would cost US retailers and consumers up to US$16bn a year and lead to the loss of 128,000 retail-related jobs over the next three years.