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Trump Administration Unveils NAFTA Negotiating Objectives Ahead of First Round of Talks

This week, the Trump Administration took a major step forward in laying the groundwork for the upcoming renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  On July 17, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) released a summary of the Administration’s negotiating objectives for the upcoming NAFTA talks.

Under Section 105 of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation passed into law in 2015, the Administration is required to publish a detailed and comprehensive summary of the specific objectives with respect to the negotiations, and a description of how the agreement, if successfully concluded, will further these objectives and benefit the United States at least 30 calendar days before initiating formal trade negotiations.

Most notably, USTR’s summary is framed as an overall renegotiation of NAFTA, and does not simply focus on those areas where the Administration is seeking changes to the existing deal.  The negotiating objectives covered a wide range of topics, including trade in goods and services, labor and environment, trade facilitation, trade remedies, and dispute settlement.  According to the summary, the Administration also plans to use upcoming NAFTA talks to address the United States’ trade deficit in goods with Canada and Mexico.

Upon release of the negotiating objectives, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer stated that “[t]oo many Americans have been hurt by closed factories, exported jobs, and broken political promises.  Under President Trump’s leadership, USTR will negotiate a fair deal.  We will seek to address America’s persistent trade imbalances, break down trade barriers, and give Americans new opportunities to grow their exports.  President Trump is reclaiming American prosperity and making our country great again.”

On July 19, USTR confirmed the first round of NAFTA discussions will be held August 16-20 in Washington, DC.  USTR also announced John Melle, Assistant US Trade Representative for the Western Hemisphere, will serve as the United States’ Chief Negotiator.

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Ludmilla L. Savelieff, Policy Attorney, Squire Patton Boggs Law Firm
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Ludmilla Savelieff draws on her experience in both domestic and international policy to assist clients on a variety of regulatory, legislative, and legal matters.

Prior to law school, Ms. Savelieff was the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where she gained first-hand experience in the daily operations of the Executive Branch. While at the Council, she worked closely with the Chairman and his team of policy advisors in the development and management of significant Administration policies and...

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Stacy Swanson, Public Policy Specialist, Squire Patton Boggs Law Firm
Public Policy Specialist

Stacy Swanson helps sovereign governments successfully navigate Washington and understand United States Government policy. She regularly provides clients with strategies which effectively leverage existing relationships to advocate policy objectives before the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government. 

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Mayte Gutierrez Public Policy Advisor Attorney Squire Patton Boggs
Public Policy Advisor

Mayte Fedowitz is a member of our International Public Policy Practice and previously served as a Congressional Affairs Advisor and Liaison at the Embassy of Mexico in Washington DC. As a public policy advisor, she assists sovereign governments in understanding US government policies. Her experience in the private and public sector enables her to strategically guide clients in the public policy arena to leverage their relationships and advocate policy objectives.

As Congressional Affairs Liaison, Mayte conducted political analyses and expanded a...

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