NAFTA

U.S. lawmakers are still debating the merits of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement.

Mexico was the first country to ratify the proposed NAFTA replacement, and Canada is expected to follow suit.

A group of University of Georgia professors estimates that the state would lose nearly $900 million if the USMCA is adopted.

On Second Thought heard from Jeffrey Dorfman, one of the co-authors of the University of Georgia report.


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Last week, Mexico became the first country to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. Canada is expected to follow suit in short course.

In The United States, however, not all American lawmakers are convinced the USMCA would be a better deal than the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Democrats have threatened to block it, and a few key Republicans are withholding support unless the administration makes some concessions on tariffs.


When negotiators for the United States, Canada and Mexico wrapped up the latest round of trade talks in Washington on Tuesday, they sounded frustrated — and far apart.

From cars to cows, they have big disagreements over how the North American Free Trade Agreement should work. In fact, the disputes appear so big, they may be threatening the future of NAFTA.

So officials have agreed to delay their next meeting — pushing off its start in Mexico City until Nov. 17; they originally had planned to meet later this month.

President Trump made his view of the North American Free Trade Agreement very clear during the presidential election. He called NAFTA "the worst trade deal in ... the history of this country." And Trump blamed NAFTA for the loss of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

His administration is in the midst of renegotiating the free trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and that is making many U.S. farmers and ranchers nervous.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

 

Dependable sources of labor and a fresh look at international trade topped the wish list of farmers and other stakeholders when they met with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Friday.

Perdue held a roundtable discussion in Tifton in his role as the head of President Trump’s Task Force on Rural Prosperity. It was the first such roundtable in the South.

“We’re here from the federal government and we’re here not to hurt you,” Perdue joked.

Officials from the U.S., Mexico and Canada met Wednesday to begin renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement. In an opening statement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer praised President Trump for the fact that these negotiations were even happening.

"American politicians have been promising to renegotiate NAFTA for years, but today, President Trump is going to fulfill those promises," he said.

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The Trump administration on Wednesday will start to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. And despite very tough talk about NAFTA during the campaign, it appears the administration has backed away from a major assault on the decades-old trade deal.

And that is a relief to businesses in all three countries.

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump clearly tapped into frustration about workers who had lost jobs in manufacturing. And he painted NAFTA as one of the central villains responsible for stealing Americans jobs.

The Trump administration has set into motion the process to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, following through on the president's earlier promise.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally notified congressional leaders in a letter Thursday that the president intends to launch negotiations with Canada and Mexico "as soon as practicable."

On his 100th day in office, President Trump signed an executive order creating a new Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy in the White House. The office will be led by National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro, whom Trump called "one of the greats at trying to protect our jobs." NPR's Rachel Martin spoke with Navarro about his mission: "to defend and serve American workers and domestic manufacturers."

Why manufacturing?

President Trump still calls the North American Free Trade Agreement "a horrible deal" for the United States. But in opting to renegotiate — rather than cancel — the agreement, Trump acknowledged that backing out of NAFTA would be "a pretty big shock to the system."

After more than two decades, NAFTA is tightly woven into the economies of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Trade among the three countries is much more robust and supply chains more tightly integrated than was the case in 1994 when NAFTA went into effect.

Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET

President Trump told reporters Thursday he had been planning to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement within days, but decided to try to renegotiate the agreement instead. The president held out the possibility of killing the trade deal later if the negotiations fail.

The Trump administration announced it will impose a 20 percent tariff on imported softwood lumber from Canada.

The dispute is not new — the United States and Canada have sparred over imports of forest products for decades. But the action comes as the two nations prepare to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which President Trump has harshly criticized.

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