Published: Wed, May 17, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Trump trade officials prefer tri-lateral NAFTA deal: US senators

Trump trade officials prefer tri-lateral NAFTA deal: US senators

Robert Lighthizer, a longtime Washington lawyer and former US trade official, on Tuesday briefed the Senate Finance Committee on efforts to begin talks on overhauling Nafta.

Lighthizer, a veteran trade lawyer and deputy USTR during the Reagan administration, was sworn into office by Vice President Mike Pence, capping months of delays and filling the last open seat in President Donald Trump's cabinet. US trade policy has remained a prominent issue in recent months and it appears that taking a fresh look at the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be an immediate priority.

"We're moving forward to complete initial consultations with Congress as soon as possible to start the clock for negotiating a fair trade deal for American workers", Davis said.

Lighthizer is expected to meet with congressional committees this week to discuss "a second draft" of the administration's notification of its intent to launch negotiations on NAFTA, according to Inside US Trade.

Press reports also speculate the official notification letter could be finalised and sent to Congress this week or next.

Champagne told Global TV's "West Block" that Canada is well prepared for the negotiations, whenever they begin.

Lighthizer is a well-known sceptic of NAFTA. "We welcome Mr. Lighthizer' s confirmation because of his grasp of global trade rules and understanding of the importance of balanced trade agreements to the USA dairy sector", said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern.

Lighthizer will be one of three key leaders on trade policy, working alongside Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House trade and industrial policy adviser Peter Navarro.

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