The Donald Trump administration is considering front-loading the upcoming renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by negotiating the political issues first, ahead of more technical talks. A former official at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office told Politico this week the idea would be to “have a lot of those high-level discussions with principals at the beginning, and find out within the first few months: Is this doable or not?” Typical trade negotiations put technical talks first and saves the tougher political issues until near the end of talks. Jeff Weiss, who has served in the USTR office and just recently left the Commerce Department, says discussions surrounding the potential elimination of Chapter 19 dispute settlement, which the U.S. wants, as well as intellectual property issues with Mexico and dairy talks with Canada, will likely be some of the toughest areas of negotiations. NAFTA renegotiations could start in July, after a formal waiting period required following notification to Congress by the Trump administration.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.