White House notifies Congress of intent to start Nafta renegotiation talks

5/18/2017 Financial Times

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Flickr/Gage Skidmore

US President Donald Trump has fired the starting gun on renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, with the administration’s notification to Congress on Thursday that it plans to begin formal talks as soon as August.

A letter to congressional leaders sent by Robert Lighthizer, the new US trade representative, gave Congress the required 90-day notification of new trade talks. It also comes just three weeks after Mr Trump abruptly reversed a plan to pull the US out of the 23-year-old trade agreement that now underpins the North American supply chains of myriad multinational companies.

Mr Lighthizer said the US hoped to wrap up the negotiations by the end of this year. But he also signalled that Washington intended to take a hard line in talks with Canada and Mexico and would be seeking fundamental changes in the relationship.

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