The Trump administration has officially notified Congress it intends to pursue the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to The Detroit News. President Donald Trump and his administration now face a 90-day deadline before any changes or an all-out withdrawal from the agreement can occur.
The free-trade agreement, signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1994, has been a major talking point for President Trump, who has repeatedly called it one of the worst trade deals in history. Specifically, he cites manufacturing and related jobs outsourced to Mexico as a prime fault.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the letter does not “notify just Congress, but all our trading partners, that free and fair trade is the new standard for U.S. trade deals.”
His statement added, “Since the signing of NAFTA, we have seen our manufacturing industry decimated, factories shuttered, and countless workers left jobless.” “President Trump is going to change that.” He said he looked forward to finding “a solution that is both fair and beneficial for all parties.”
Democrats and Republicans both agree the trade agreement is long overdue for modernization, though, some representatives were discouraged by the vague nature of the announcement.
“What they put out today is vague and doesn’t tell us anything,” U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, The Detroit News.
“Donald Trump ran for president as the best negotiator on the face of the earth. Here’s his chance to prove it,” U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, said in a press conference at the U.S. Capitol.
“Simply saying you’re going to renegotiate NAFTA isn’t going to get it done,” he continued. “The people in my hometown and places all across the country shouldn’t be put in a position where they have to compete with Mexican workers who themselves are exploited.”
Any changes to NAFTA will have major effects on the U.S. auto industry. Specifically, General Motors has plants in both Mexico and Canada, although, Mexico has been a hotter topic for the administration.
Previously, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce predicted a renegotiated NAFTA agreement will be finalized in mid-2018.