NAFTA Day 1 – U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer Opening Statement…

The first round of new NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) negotiations begins today in Washington DC.  The U.S., Canada and Mexico begin the task of renegotiating a trade deal originally established in 1995. There are trillions of dollars in trade being discussed, and more substantively the basic principles behind a tri-lateral trade deal that has compromised U.S. economic growth are being reformatted and reestablished.

Most of the media presentations on the substantive issues are framed in falsehoods, deception and many outright lies.  The advancement of multinational corporations, and multinational financial constructs has eliminated the historic reference points still being used by the media to mislead the average consumer – EXPLAINED HERE

NAFTA was/is a highly political trade deal that has severely compromised U.S. workers and U.S. manufacturers.  There may be as many as six rounds of negotiations as each economic sector is addressed.  However, the first round is essentially to establish the principles of priority for each trade nation.  Against the backdrop of America as the worlds largest economy and market, the entire globe is watching to see the outcome.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer delivers his opening remarks (video and transcript below).

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AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER – This is an historic day for the United States. Today, for the first time, we will start negotiating to revise a major free trade agreement. American politicians have been promising to renegotiate NAFTA for years, but today President Trump is going to fulfill those promises.

I want to thank members of Congress, and their staffs, who have helped lay the groundwork for these negotiations. We look forward to working with them now and in the future as things proceed.

I would also like to thank the members of our advisory committees, and other stakeholders, who have given USTR their thoughts about how this agreement can be improved. We held three days of hearings, and we received testimony and comments from thousands of stakeholders. Their suggestions are critical to our process, and we appreciate everyone’s help.

First, I know we all agree that NAFTA needs updating. This is a 23 year-old agreement and our economies are very different than they were in the 1990’s. We need to modernize or create provisions which protect digital trade and services trade, e-commerce, update customs procedures, protect intellectual property, improve energy provisions, enhance transparency rules, and promote science-based agricultural trade.

In each of these areas, hopefully we will develop model provisions that can be used for years ahead and that have the flexibility to adapt to future innovations that we can’t even imagine at this point. This is an important part of our process.

After modernizing, the tough work begins. We must balance the legitimate interests of literally millions of people in our countries — those of farmers, and businesses, and workers and yes, families.

Many Americans have benefited from NAFTA. For many of our farmers and ranchers, Canada and Mexico are their largest export markets. Americans send billions of dollars of corn and soybeans, and poultry across our borders to dinner tables throughout North America.

These are hardworking people with families who ask little from their government. Many are particularly vulnerable today because of low commodity prices.

I’ve always thought that communities along our borders have a particular equity in this agreement. In many cases their lives, businesses, and families are very much on both sides of the dividing line. They too are hardworking men and women trying to raise a families and accumulate wealth. We must keep their interests paramount.

But for countless Americans, this agreement has failed.

We cannot ignore the huge trade deficits, the lost manufacturing jobs, the businesses that have closed or moved because of incentives — intended or not — in the current agreement.

The numbers are clear. The U.S. Government has certified that at least 700,000 Americans have lost their jobs due to changing trade flows resulting from NAFTA. Many people believe that number is much, much bigger than that. In 1993, when NAFTA was approved, the United States and Mexico experienced relatively balanced trade. However since then, we have had persistent trade deficits – in the last year totaling nearly $57 billion. In the auto sector alone, the U.S. has a $68 billion deficit with Mexico. Thousands of American factory workers have lost their jobs because of these provisions. In recent years, we have seen some improvement in our trade balance with Canada. But over the last ten years, our deficit in goods has exceeded $365 billion.

The views of the President about NAFTA, which I completely share, are well known. I want to be clear that he is not interested in a mere tweaking of a few provisions and a couple of updated chapters. We feel that NAFTA has fundamentally failed many, many Americans and needs major improvement.

Here are some of the examples of what I believe needs to be changed. We need to assure that huge trade deficits do not continue and that we have balance and reciprocity. This should be periodically reviewed. Rules of origin, particularly on autos and auto parts, must require higher NAFTA content and substantial U.S. content. Country of origin should be verified, not “deemed.” Labor provisions should be included in the agreement and be as strong as possible. The agreement should have effective provisions to guard against currency manipulation. The dispute settlement provisions should be designed to respect our national sovereignty and our democratic processes. We should include provisions to guard against market-distorting practices of other countries, including third-party dumping and state-owned enterprises. We should assure that there is equal access and reciprocity in government procurement and agriculture.

These are just a few examples of key priorities for the United States – but I think they are sufficient to show that our task is a very difficult one. On the other hand, the stakes are high for all of our citizens and the benefits of a good agreement can be substantial.

My hope is that together we will produce a result which moves us to freer markets, fairer and balanced trade, and stronger ties between our three countries. I look forward to working with Secretary Guajardo and Minister Freeland on this very important effort.

Thank you very much, and now we will get down to work.  (link)

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This entry was posted in Big Government, Big Stupid Government, Canada, Decepticons, Dem Hypocrisy, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Transition, Economy, Mexico, NAFTA, President Trump, Trade Deal, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

77 Responses to NAFTA Day 1 – U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer Opening Statement…

  1. Trump disbands Council:

    Liked by 24 people

    • Smart move! Grandstanding and virtue signaling is getting old. Besides, how many of the CEOs who have resigned received government subsidies to keep their businesses going? Answer might surprise you.

      Liked by 28 people

      • MaineCoon says:

        So what’s the answer?

        Liked by 1 person

        • maiingankwe says:

          I think we are supposed to look it up Maine Coon. I guess it’s not only our children going back to school getting homework, but us too. My daughter goes back tomorrow!

          On another note, I was sweeping out the garage and listening, so I didn’t get to see the expressions of Canada and Mexico when he gave the numbers to our unfair trade. Did they by chance look unhappy or neutral as they were in the beginning?

          I know, I could rewind, I guess I will. Also, when I have time and I think of it, I will look up all the companies to see if they get subsidies or not. I wouldn’t mind cutting the sheet in half and have someone help me though. There are quite a few of them who were on this board.

          I was being kind of a smart alec in my first paragraph, so please don’t think I was deliberately being rude, it wasn’t my intention. Mark is a good guy and smart too. I like reading what he and you too Maine Coon have to say. I never skip you guys over.
          Be well,
          Ma’iingankwe

          Liked by 2 people

        • Elon Musk for starters. He practically lives off government subsidies for SpaceX, Solar City and Tesla corporations.

          And to give you an idea of what else is subsidized: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/06/opinion/stop-subsidizing-big-pharma.html

          Liked by 2 people

          • Exmil-UK says:

            SpaceX has saved NASA a fortune in launch costs by competing with the U.L.A.
            I thought Tesla had repaid all its Gov loans with Interest.

            Solar City I know virtually nothing about.

            Liked by 1 person

            • But why did it save NASA a fortune? Look at how NASA was allocated during the last administration. It wasn’t spending its money where it should have gone – space exploration. It’s moneys were allocated to climate change, Islam awareness, etc.
              Yes, it’s always cheaper to do things private versus the government but SpaceX is still subsidized. It shouldn’t be if it was truly private.
              As for Tesla repaying their debt with interest – correct! But I’m talking about continued subsidizes that keep it functioning.

              Liked by 4 people

    • Dennis Leonard says:

      Good,now he took their political podium away from the vested interests that want to not have nafta renegotiated.

      Liked by 16 people

    • emet" says:

      Essentially the CEOs, many in academia, and Obama politicians are cheering on our version of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. If they get it, they are not going to like being sent to eork on a farm. Nope.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. sundance says:

    Beware of the lobbyist gaslighting. Multinational banks and corporations are working overtime to skew the modern reality behind NAFTA.

    Liked by 26 people

    • Johnny Bravo says:

      SD, I’ve got my gas meter sniffing right by my side.

      Liked by 8 people

    • Linda says:

      I love the comments to that tweet. They’re getting called out big time.

      Liked by 13 people

    • n1ghtcr4wler says:

      if 14 million American jobs depend on nafta, how many jobs in Mexico and Canada depend on the US?

      Liked by 10 people

    • Paul Killinger says:

      The US Chamber no more represents 3 million businesses than I do. Local and state C of C’s exist entirely separate from this national organization.

      And the text here is enlightening… They wish to keep the practice of “self certifying” a product or component’s point of origin. In other words, maintain the status quo, which is full of abuse and outright fraud.

      The only problem with that being is we now lose $100B a year to Mexico alone in trade and cash bank transfers into their country, much of it from illegals.

      They should change their name from the “US” Chamber to the Mexican, Chinese or World Chamber. At least then they’d be more honest about it.

      Liked by 7 people

    • Kaco says:

      Right, the American people has up close how well it’s worked out for us.

      Liked by 2 people

    • indiana08 says:

      I’ve long hated the US COC for their love of cheap slave labor at the expense of American workers. I hope Pres. Trump makes them have to spend every dime they have trying to defeat him and America only to end up as broke as George Soros will soon be. They’ve been betting on the wrong horse for far too long.

      Liked by 3 people

    • flawesttexas says:

      I would never trust the Anti American Collective of Communists on any economic issue. Idiots like them keep nutjobs like Kim in North Korea in power, by proxy, with bad trade deals with NK allies

      Like

    • scott467 says:

      “Beware of the lobbyist gaslighting. Multinational banks and corporations are working overtime to skew the modern reality behind NAFTA.”

      ______________

      But that game only works when you still have something left to lose.

      What does America have left to lose at this point?

      There is no threat they can make, no leverage for them to hold, when they’ve already taken everything you have or had.

      They’re just ‘gaslighting’ because it’s what they do.

      Like a slave-driver whipping a dead animal, because he has already killed all of his slaves, but he still needs to beat something.

      If there was justice, their blood would run in the streets.

      Like

  3. Skinner says:

    America First! For too long our ship of state has been tied to the dock. If you’re not making waves, you’re not underway.

    Liked by 12 people

  4. Grant Ellis says:

    You can see the other two countries representatives loooong faces as they know the “HAMMER” is coming. Lighthizer and Ross are going to chew these discussions to a bone. Love it and I thought they were going to start crying for a minute.

    Liked by 12 people

    • I thought so too, but they are actually U.S guys. One on the right is Assistant US Trade, and legal council to Amb. Lighthizer’s the other is an assistant also I believe

      Liked by 2 people

    • Stephen Vaughn
      Stephen P. Vaughn is the general counsel to the United States Trade Representative. Before Robert Lighthizer’s confirmation as USTR, Vaughn served as the acting Trade Representative.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I truly thought the same as you including expressions, but I tried to read name plates and discovered they are our guys:
      John M. Melle
      Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Western Hemisphere
      John M. Melle is Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Western Hemisphere. Appointed in March 2011, he is responsible for developing, coordinating and implementing the United States’ trade policy for the region. This includes oversight of trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, Chile, Central America and the Dominican Republic, Peru, Colombia and Panama, as well as bilateral trade issues with Brazil, Argentina and the remainder of South America and the Caribbean. Mr. Melle is also responsible for the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), a U.S. trade preference program with Caribbean countries.

      Since joining USTR in 1988, Mr. Melle has held a number of positions covering Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Central America and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. Mr. Melle entered Federal government service as a Presidential Management Intern and spent his first two years in government service at the Policy, Planning and Analysis Office at the U.S. Department of Energy.

      Liked by 4 people

    • n1ghtcr4wler says:

      they both look soft and wimpish. Lightizer will mop the floor with them

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Paul Revere says:

    No international deal that puts the USA in a subservient role is good for American workers. It is time we stop with propping up so many nations around the world. We are not the worlds welfare program. What we should be willing to do it help where we can, but have expectations that must be met is order to receive that assistance.
    It is about time we put the USA first because if we remain strong, the world is better off for it.

    Liked by 16 people

  6. citizen817 says:

    Our wolverines to rescue Americans from terrible past trade deals. Game on!

    Liked by 11 people

  7. WSB says:

    “In 1993, when NAFTA was approved, the United States and Mexico experienced relatively balanced trade.”

    That is quite a statement right there. Any clawback opportunities since we started getting scammed 24 years ago?

    Liked by 12 people

  8. CharterOakie says:

    Just wish the country had been brave and wise enough in 1992 to follow their hearts instead of what the media and permanent political class told them. We would have elected the patriot who saw and said exactly where this stupid and corrupt NAFTA would lead us.

    The “giant sucking sound” sucked untold jobs and wealth out of this country ever since NAFTA and then the even bigger WTO disaster that followed. So much damage to repair.

    Liked by 8 people

  9. JT says:

    this is what we call “real news”. but nobody wants to talk about it.

    Liked by 15 people

  10. 94corvette says:

    One of the lies told to the US citizens was that by Mexico being able to attract good manufacturing jobs, the illegal immigration problem would be lessened. We all see how that worked out.

    Liked by 12 people

  11. Alison says:

    Thanks, Sundance. This & infrastructure are welcome topics I will follow with great interest.

    Does Congress have any chance to meddle in trade agreements or is this solely an Executive Branch authority (I hope!)

    Liked by 4 people

    • Alison says:

      I see answer below. Thanks, Dennis.

      Congress will meddle Bigly. Ugh ! Makes 2018 elections MAGA-important. Voters supporting Trump’s revised NAFTA will be akin to supporting his anti-TPP position. Hope it becomes a 2018 voter issue!

      Liked by 1 person

      • flawesttexas says:

        When Congress voted to give Obama Trade Promotion Authority…it was good for a few years. Still valid right now with Trump

        Congress must vote on a renegotiated NAFTA without amendments.

        A no vote on a more Americanized NAFTA will be the end of many pols on both sides

        Liked by 2 people

  12. missmarple2 says:

    I took Donald Trump to show me what a fool I had been listening to all the “free trade” propaganda. How many times did Rush tell the buggy whip factory story? How many times did I listen to Bush telling me that free trade led to democracy and other malarkey?

    I will forever be grateful to President Trump (and Sundance) for showing me what a dupe I was, and how no one in DC really cared about the workers.

    Liked by 12 people

  13. Minnie says:

    Thank you for keeping us current, Sundance.

    Of course, the malevolent slime media bury any and all news that casts OUR President and his Administration in a positive light.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Oldskool says:

    Let’s hope Lighthizer and Ross are able to withstand the BS from all the vested status quo interests and actually deliver for us for a change. Looking good already, as those Business Council frauds were leaving under cover of Charlottesville, but really knowing their easy days are over.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Dennis Leonard says:

    Well according to CNN business,these negotiations mean nothing,and I quote
    “President Trump is one step closer to getting a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

    But he has many, many more steps to go.

    On Wednesday, Trump’s trade team officially begins renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, the three-nation pact that went into effect in 1994.

    A new NAFTA will probably take more than a year to enact, and possibly longer, depending on negotiations and political forces in the three countries.

    Here are the other milestones required by law, according to the Trade Benefits America Coalition, a group supported by dozens of large business associations and Fortune 500 firms, including Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) and Walmart. (WMT)

    This is where we are now

    1. Talks begin Wednesday. The first round is in Washington, and future ones will be in Canada and Mexico. Talks are expected to go until about the end of the year or early 2018 — assuming all three sides come to an agreement, which is not guaranteed.

    Before Trump can sign the deal

    2. 180 days before signing the deal, Trump’s team must submit a report to the congressional committees on the potential changes to U.S. trade law.

    3. 90 days before inking it, Trump must notify all of Congress about his intent to sign the deal. On the same day he must give the details of the agreement to the U.S. International Trade Committee, an independent panel of judges.

    4. 60 days before signing the deal, Trump’s team must publish the text on the website of the U.S. Trade Representative.

    Related: Trump spells out his wish list for NAFTA

    Before Congress gets the deal

    5. President Trump can sign the deal.

    6. 60 days after entering the agreement, the administration must provide a public description of the changes to U.S. laws in order to bring the U.S. into compliance with the deal.

    7. 105 days after Trump signs it, the ITC publishes a report assessing the economic impacts of the revised deal.

    8. 30 days before submitting the bill to Congress, Trump must send a statement which includes the final legal texts of the deal.

    9. Before introducing the bill to Congress, the administration is required to submit a review of the deal’s impact on employment and the environment, and a plan for implementing and enforcing the agreement.

    Related: Japan and the European Union ink a new free trade deal

    After new NAFTA is introduced to Congress

    10. 45 days after submission, the House Ways and Means Committee must report the bill, meaning it needs a majority vote in the committee to go to a full House vote. The committee could also suggest amendments or other tweaks to the trade deal.

    11. 15 days after that, the full House of Representatives must vote on the bill.

    12. 15 days after that, Senate Finance Committee must report the bill.

    13. 15 days after that, the full Senate votes on the trade deal.

    14. 30 days before officially entering into the agreement, Trump must send a letter to Congress saying he’s determined that the United States has taken measures necessary to comply with the agreement.

    Related: Spurned by Trump, Mexico and China talk up potential trade deal

    Take a breath, because even that timeline comes with caveats.

    All those days Congress has to consider the new NAFTA are legislative days — not real, calendar days. In total, Congress gets 90 legislative days, which could in reality stretch over several months.

    There’s more. The governments of Mexico and Canada must also ratify the agreement while this is going on. If they don’t ratify it, there’s no new deal.

    That’s important to remember because Mexico holds presidential elections in 11 months, and the leading candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a Trump critic, has threatened to get tough on U.S. trade. It’s unclear what he plans to do, but if he gets elected, the official U.S. timeline for renegotiating NAFTA would likely get wrapped up in Lopez Obrador’s presidency. ”

    Well do not ratify it,we cancel the whole thing also notice they throw in the little tidbit about legislative days versus calendar days sending signals maybe?

    Like

  16. jmarshs says:

    From the opening statement above:
    “The agreement should have effective provisions to guard against currency manipulation.”

    This is bigly important. This is what keeps wages artificially low in Mexico, the Mexican worker poor and it makes it near impossible to export any US goods to Mexico.

    The only beneficiaries are US multinational corporations and the oligarchs who own Mexico.

    Liked by 8 people

  17. GumboPot says:

    The left, MSM and GOPe have been in serious meltdown mode today. I really have to think that the start of these NAFTA re-negotiations and the Chinese Section 301 trade investigations have the CEOs, corporate executives and large share holders very unsettled. That consternation is trickling down to their politician puppets in the general form of resist Trump. The MSM and the Trump haters don’t know why they need to resist Trump, just that they need to.

    Take that back a little. Most of them think they need to resist Trump for words he did not say…lol.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Summer says:

    I hope they will eventually scrap NAFTA and go bilateral. I believe that’s what Trump really considers to be optimal.

    Liked by 6 people

    • GumboPot says:

      Trump will use congress’ do-nothingness to his advantage. NAFTA will be scrapped by their inaction and we will enter into bilateral agreements with Canada and Mexico.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Summer says:

        We shall see. Chief Snake Schumer said his views on trade were closer to Trump’s than Obama’s. They can’t openly go against the blue color voters while at the same time trying to lure them “back” with their fake “better deal” platform which includes re-negotiation of bad trade deals. Well, I kinda hope Dems are stupid enough to oppose NAFTA re-negotiation…

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Doug says:

    i dont need to read any newspaper editorials from so called experts. trump has appointed and has the best people in the job to do what needs to be done … ill for once sit back, relax and watch the real fun begin.. all these other things over the past two years have been a distraction from this. good luck TEAM Trump!

    Liked by 4 people

  20. Jerry says:

    God Bless USA and Trump!

    Like

  21. stillers213 says:

    “The views of the President about NAFTA, which I completely share, are well known. I want to be clear that he is not interested in a mere tweaking of a few provisions and a couple of updated chapters. We feel that NAFTA has fundamentally failed many, many Americans and needs major improvement.”
    I have been waiting a long time to hear something like this out of the WH. Thank you President Trump!
    It’s a great day folks. May I suggest that you shut the TV off for a while and put on some good music.

    Liked by 6 people

  22. El Torito says:

    When I voted for Trump, I voted for a wrecking ball. And got one. MAGA.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. Janice says:

    Good times indeed!

    Like

  24. RodS says:

    My first wife lost her job at a lingerie plant six months after NAFTA was signed; the company closed the plant and moved it to Mexico. She then got a job sewing swimsuits, but a year later that plant also closed and moved to Mexico. She then found a great job working for NCR, which was owned by AT&T, but that plant closed a year later and moved to Asia.

    Ain’t free trade great!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Robert says:

    “Wrapped up two Under Armor t-shirts and sent to their office at 1020 Hull Street, Baltimore MD 21230 with a note that they can stick it somewhere and will not buy from them anymore–all their products are from China.” -OliverTwist

    One badass move by one badass! Way to go man! Glass raised high my friend!

    Like

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