The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative released last night the administration’s negotiating objectives as it seeks to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ahead of the start of talks next month in Pittsburg. The administration’s objectives for agriculture highlight the need to “maintain existing reciprocal duty-free market access for agricultural goods,” a key priority NASDA and other agriculture organizations pressed upon the administration.
Other key NASDA priorities were also reflected in the document, including the administration’s stated desire to eliminate non-tariff barriers for U.S. ag exports, promote greater regulatory compatibility, and establish a mechanism to quickly resolve barriers that block U.S. ag and food exports. Many of these objectives borrowed heavily from work in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.
Notably, the objectives also include significant emphasis on reducing bilateral trade deficits between the US and its NAFTA partners, as well as objectives to related to advancing “Buy America” requirements and rules of origin requirements for manufactured goods which could emerge as key points of contention during negotiations.