Trump administration kickstarts Nafta renegotiation
(ShareCast News) - US President Donald Trump has put the wheels in motion on a major trade shake-up, after his administration triggered the renegotiation of the North-American Free Trade Agreement on Thursday.
The trade deal, which also includes Mexico and Canada, was heavily criticised by Trump during his successful election campaign in 2016 as he promised to withdraw the US entirely from the agreement.
Formal talks between the three countries are now expected to take place in August, with a 90-day notification period required from the first announcement to the US Congress.
Just three weeks ago Trump reneged on his vow to completely withdraw from Nafta, which represents a significant amount of US exports and imports.
He had previously said the deal does more harm than good to the country's economy, believing that other states were taking advantage of the US in trade circles.
Administration trade representative Robert Lighthizer informed Congress of the start of the renegotiation, but offered little detail about what the new deal would involve.
"We should build on what has worked in NAFTA but change and improve what has not," Lighthizer said.
"I would note that many of these negotiations will be bilateral and many of the issues are bilateral, but our hope is that we will end up with a structure that is similar to what we have now," he added.
The notification arrived during arguably Trump's most turbulent week in the Oval Office to date, following a spate of reports related to alleged links between his election campaign and Russian officials, which has led to calls for his impeachment.