USTR Releases NAFTA Negotiating Objectives One Month Ahead of Anticipated Start to Renegotiations

In a next step toward renegotiating NAFTA, USTR has released a summary of the administration's negotiating objectives. Although the overall themes are no surprise, the summary provides limited additional insight into the renegotiation goals through tangible examples. There is a continued emphasis on increased and improved market access for American businesses, as well as ensuring free and fair trade among the NAFTA parties.

Notably, USTR is now citing deficit reduction as an objective for the NAFTA renegotiations. Other key objectives cited in USTR's summary include:

  • Establish rules that reduce or eliminate barriers to U.S. investment in all sectors in the NAFTA countries.
  • Eliminate of the Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism for review of trade remedies administrative decisions.
  • Require NAFTA countries to apply decisions and recommendations adopted by the WTO TBT Committee that apply, inter alia, to standards, conformity assessment, transparency, and other areas.
  • Ensure that strong subsidy disciplines apply to SOEs, beyond the disciplines set out in the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement).
The renegotiation process is expected to begin no earlier than August 16. In previous posts on the NAFTA renegotiation process, we discussed the administration's timeline for renegotiation and the public hearings held by USTR that included participants from a wide range of U.S. industries. And today, the House Ways and Means Trade subcommittee is holding a hearing on NAFTA.