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Touting ‘American first,’ Trump wants changes to NAFTA in effort to cut trade deficits

Trump is right when he says NAFTA has been very one-sided — and not in the United States’ favor

(National SentinelTrade: As promised, President Donald J. Trump is following through on his campaign pledge to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which has been one of the sources of America’s massive annual trade deficits with other countries.

In touting American-made products including everything from firetrucks to baseball caps on Monday, the president said at a White House event, “No longer are we going to allow other countries to break the rules, to steal our jobs and drain our wealth.”

As reported by The Associated Press:

Shortly after Trump’s remarks, the U.S. trade representative released an 18-page report about its goals for updating the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. In addition to reducing the trade deficit, the administration wants to insert a chapter on the digital economy into the deal. It also wants to strengthen labor and environmental obligations, as well as amending the rules of origin so that more of the products traded come from the United States and North America.

The president is attempting to regain control over his stalled agenda, which has been hampered by never-ending investigations into as-yet unproven “collusion” between his presidential campaign and the Russian government. During the campaign, Trump often spoke about the trade imbalance between the U.S. and other countries, chiefly Mexico and China, which results in hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of trade deficits every year.

“The White House emphasis on trade follows a string of other recent theme weeks on energy, job-training and infrastructure that mostly failed to draw much attention away from the Russia inquiry,” The Associated Press reported, adding:

Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said the administration’s NAFTA objectives “will be further developed as the negotiations proceed.” The senator said he wants stronger protections for intellectual property rights as part of an amended agreement with Canada and Mexico.

Even some Democrats are getting on board. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-MI, said any new trade agreements should deliver on the president’s promises to boost U.S. jobs and wages for American workers.

“He’s got to deliver on those promises he made to my constituents and the working men and women across the country,” she told reporters in a phone call.

When NAFTA was signed in 1994, the U.S. ran a small deficit with Canada but a surplus with Mexico. Within a few years that changed: The AP notes that the U.S. deficit with Mexico last year was $64 billion, while rising to $11 billion with Canada.

Those facts alone prove that Trump is right when he says NAFTA has been very one-sided — and not in the United States’ favor.

 

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