NAFTA negotiations underway
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — negotiations continue at the White House as President Donald Trump looks to dismantle the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
He wants to end talks by Friday but he will still need approval from Congress before he can fulfill this campaign promise.
“I told you from the first day, we will renegotiate NAFTA, or we will terminate NAFTA,” he said at an Arizona rally last year.
Much like he promised on the trail, President Trump is now targeting that more-than-two-decades-old trade agreement between the U.S. and its North American neighbors.
“We’ll start negotiations and if they’d like to negotiate fairly, we’ll do that,” said the President on Monday.
He announced trade talks were underway but exclusively with Mexico.
Canada who was originally a part of NAFTA was not included in preliminary negotiations.
“I think, the Mexicans might prefer the Canadians to be involved and I think ultimately working from NAFTA as a platform for 25 years versus starting over from scratch might be better in the long run but we just don’t know what the end result is going to be,” said Rick Klein, ABC News political director.
Part of the reason for that uncertainty is the lack of details on this agreement.
The White House elaborated on one section of a new NAFTA deal that addressed the auto industry.
In order to avoid tariffs in the new deal: 75 percent of a car’s value has to be made in Mexico or the United States, manufacturers will have to use more local steel and aluminum for auto parts and 45 percent of the car has to be made by workers making more than $16/hour.
“There’s going to be a lot of skepticism in bringing something to congress on both the right and the left,” said Klein. “Either the president’s enemies or his allies might all be skeptical. They want to make sure there’s something that’s good for American workers, jobs and the economy.”
Canada has begun negotiations with the U.S. but Trump hinted Monday at preferring bilateral deals to agreements between the three nations.
Senator Joe Donnelly weighed in a statement to ABC 57 News saying he’s keeping an eye on these talks.
“I am closely monitoring ongoing negotiations between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico,” he said. “I have long called for a renegotiation of NAFTA that provides a new framework for fair trade and allows American workers to compete on a level playing field.”
Representative Jackie Walorski also told ABC 57 news in a statement she’s hopeful this will lead to a better deal.
“Today’s announcement is a positive step, and I am optimistic it will lead to an agreement that better meets the needs of our nation’s manufacturers, farmers, businesses, and workers,” she said. “I hope Canada returns quickly to the negotiating table, and I look forward to reviewing the details of any final agreement.”