Congress notified of upcoming NAFTA talks

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration says it has notified Congress it intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and México.

In a letter sent Thursday to congressional leaders, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the administration plans 90 days of consultations with lawmakers over how to rewrite the agreement followed by negotiations with Canada and México that could begin after August 16.

Renegotiation of NAFTA was a key promise of Trump’s during his presidential campaign, when he frequently called the treaty a disaster.

Lighthizer told reporters NAFTA has helped strengthen the U.S. agriculture, investment services and energy sectors, but it has hurt U.S. factories and resulted in well-paying manufacturing jobs being sent to México.

Lighthizer said NAFTA needs to be updated to more effectively address matters involving digital trade, intellectual property rights and labor and environmental standards.

At a news conference Thursday at the State Department with Mexican officials and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other U.S. officials, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said México welcomes the renegotiation of NAFTA.

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