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German foreign minister says concerned about NAFTA renegotiation

20 Mai 2017

In a notification letter sent today to Congress, Ambassador Lighthizer outlined some of the areas of the agreement that are either outdated or missing - several of which are important to the US dairy industry - and reaffirmed commitment to pursuing the trade priorities outlined by TPA, including goals related to market access and curbing the abuse of geographical indications. A few weeks ago, he was weighing whether to pull out of the deal entirely.

As the process of updating and renegotiating NAFTA proceeds, the US cotton industry "urges the administration to stay involved in this important trade agreement and not weaken current provisions", he said.

Wynne also said the province has retained legal experts and trade advisers to support ongoing efforts to improve trade with the U.S.

The deal underpins more than $1 trillion of trilateral trade. A letter Thursday to congressional leaders notified them that negotiations with Canada and Mexico are set to begin. The letter to Congress is not almost as detailed as an earlier draft that was prepared before Lighthizer was confirmed.

"We agree with Ambassador Lighthizer that the current NAFTA agreement has areas upon which we can build as the renegotiation process begins, including the market we have developed in Mexico", said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. "President Trump is going to change that".

A quick turnaround on NAFTA would be a much-needed win for the embattled president, who learned this week that former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller will investigate Russia's role in the 2016 election and possible links to the Trump campaign. America's farmers and ranchers value them as customers and trade partners.

Lawrence Herman, senior fellow at the C.D. Howe Institute, told BNN Friday he has "great confidence" in Canada's foreign minister and her team to deal with the major challenges that may come from the NAFTA renegotiations.

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"Many chapters are outdated and do not reflect modern standards", he said.

"NAFTA's track record is one of economic growth and middle-class job creation, both here in Canada and throughout North America", Freeland said. "Agriculture supports jobs in the food and agricultural industries and beyond", he said. American companies from Ford Motor Co.to General Electric Co. and Caterpillar Inc. have manufacturing facilities in Mexico, taking advantage of lower labor costs. "It's too big a relationship and it would hurt too many companies", said Greg Husisian, a partner at law firm Foley & Lardner in Washington.

"As modernization of NAFTA is negotiated, it is critical to preserve the considerable gains that have been achieved for US food and agriculture. You can't whack Mexican exports without whacking USA exports". "And when you start messing with that, and it's been working over the years so we want to make sure we maintain what we have". The dairy groups have also continued to call for improving market access to Canada and tackling that country's expanding list of protectionist policies and other barriers to US dairy exports.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders.

During the campaign, Mr Trump vowed to withdraw from Nafta, saying it was a disaster for United States workers. And trade with Mexico is a smaller portion still. "We have to wait and see how things unfold once we get to the negotiating table".

The move launching NAFTA talks on Thursday is just the first step in a process that will drag on for months. Democratic congressmen Richard Neal and Bill Pascrell Jr. said Lighthizer's NAFTA letter was lacking in specifics and didn't appear to be seeking the "fundamental reform" that Trump promised during the election.

German foreign minister says concerned about NAFTA renegotiation