White House Releases Its Plans for Remaking Nafta

By William Mauldin Features Dow Jones Newswires

The Trump administration on Monday unveiled its road map for overhauling the North American Free Trade Agreement, pressing to preserve "Buy America" provisions and stymie currency manipulation in its bid to remake the trade deal linking the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

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The publication of the U.S. Nafta negotiating objectives allows talks on a revisions of the 23-year-old pact to start in as little as a month.

President Donald Trump has pledged to remake trade ties to reduce the U.S. trade deficit and bring manufacturing jobs back to America.

Washington's objectives laid out in the document include developing a mechanism to prevent countries from manipulating their currencies for trade advantages, as well as retaining U.S. "Buy America" procurement rules.

According to the Nafta blueprint released Monday, the U.S. would also seek to raise labor standards significantly for Mexican imports. The Trump administration also included language that would scrap a North American panel frequently used to review U.S. tariffs on allegedly dumped goods from Canada and Mexico.

Monday's road map didn't specifically spell out some hotly debated objectives, such as mechanisms for reducing the trade deficit. That leaves the administration plenty of flexibility for the talks, but also could fuel worries among labor groups and some lawmakers that Mr. Trump won't follow through with campaign vows to reshape U.S. trade policy.

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Overall, the road map appeared geared toward broad acceptance in Congress, which has a vote on any major trade overhauls that change U.S. law. Monday's move kicks off a debate with voters, lawmakers, business lobbyists and labor groups expected to weigh in.

--Anthony Harrup in Mexico City and Paul Vieira in Ottawa contributed to this article.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 17, 2017 18:27 ET (22:27 GMT)