U.S. Trade Representative, leader of the American delegation on the renegotiation talks of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Robert Lighthizer, said Wednesday was a “historic day” for the US, since, for the first time, “a great trade agreement,” which has “failed” millions of American citizens would be updated.
“American politicians have promised for years to renegotiate NAFTA, but today, President Trump will make good on those promises,” Lighthizer said during his initial speech.
Americans aren't “interested in a mere tweaking of a few provisions and an updating of a couple of chapters,” he said, “We feel NAFTA has fundamentally failed many Americans and needs major improvements,” he said to his counterparts.
The US insists on the final goal being the reduction of trade deficit they are suffering from because of NAFTA, particularly with Mexico.
Moreover, Lighthizer confirmed that the “key priorities” of his commission are to include causes on e-commerce, update on customs proceeding, protection of intellectual property and an improvement in the energy clauses and transparency rules.
Lighthizer was hopeful that after the “productive discussions” of the upcoming months, they all could reach “a good agreement” which would imply “substantial” benefits.
“My hope is that together we will produce a result which moves us to freer markets, fairer and more balanced trade and stronger ties between our three countries,” he said.
“I know we all agree NAFTA needs an update. It's a 23-year old agreement and our economies are very different to what they were during the 90's,” said Lighthizer, adding that while the talks of the upcoming months will be complicated, after the improvement begins the “hard work.”