Trump administration notifies Congress of intent to renegotiate NAFTA

"You can't whack Mexican exports without whacking US exports". Lighthizer told reporters, "As a starting point for negotiations, we should build on what has worked in Nafta and change and improve what has not".

"The U.S. and Canada are deeply integrated, to the extent that, on average, manufactured goods entering the U.S. from Canada have 25 percent U.S. content".

Trade has been an issue many members of Michigan's Congressional delegation could agree with Trump on. Mexico, which imported $17.9 billion in USA food, was the third-largest market.

The White House declined to comment on farmers' fears that Trump's trade policy stands to hurt them. Within hours, the president reversed course and said that he'd seek a better deal first.

Trump has invoked the trade gap to argue that naive American policymakers had been out-negotiated by their Mexican counterparts.

"Let me be clear: NAFTA is vital to the prosperity of the U.S. textile industry, and NCTO steadfastly supports continuing the agreement", said NCTO president and CEO Auggie Tantillo. So were many trade barriers in the auto industry.

On the campaign trail, Trump said if elected he'd be willing to step away from NAFTA entirely if he can't come to agreeable terms.

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Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement, "Since the signing of NAFTA, we have seen our manufacturing industry decimated, factories shuttered, and countless workers left jobless".

Negotiations stand to put President Trump into a politically tight spot at a time when the current political turmoil already threatens to hold up parts of his agenda.

U.S. Rep. Sandy Levin, D-Royal Oak, criticized the administration's approach to renegotiating the deal in a statement, and called for a series of hearings in the Ways and Means Committee before negotiations begin so Congress has complete clarity. The much shorter letter that was actually sent makes no mention of this. Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, called it "markedly vague".

During the 90-day countdown, USTR will consult with "Congress and American stakeholders to create an agreement that advances the interests of America´s workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses", he said. In addition to guaranteeing fairer treatment of our industry in Mexico and Canada, the agreement led to economic growth in all three countries.

"This agreement was negotiated almost 25 years ago, and the economies of all three countries have changed considerably in that time", Chamber of Commerce President Perrin Beatty said in a news release.

"I would note that many of these negotiations will be bilateral and numerous issues are bilateral, but our hope is that we will end up with a structure that is similar to what we have now", he added.

"Canada is not low-wage, low-benefit or low on environmental regulation. It's too big a relationship and it would hurt too many companies", said Greg Husisian, a partner at law firm Foley & Lardner in Washington.

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