Trade Update - Thursday, June 8, 2017
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CalChamber Urges Members to Write in Support
The California Chamber of Commerce is urging members to send a letter to the Federal Register Notice (FRN) by Monday, June 12 supporting the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
NAFTA was negotiated more than 25 years ago, and, while the U.S economy and businesses have changed considerably over that period, NAFTA has not. The United States seeks to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow the U.S. economy by improving U.S. opportunities to trade with Canada and Mexico. To that end, the U.S. government is seeking public comments on matters relevant to the modernization of NAFTA in order to inform the development of U.S. negotiating positions.
The CalChamber will be submitting comments to the FRN as well. The CalChamber actively supported the creation of NAFTA among the United States, Canada and Mexico, comprising 484.3 million people with combined annual trade with the United States being around $1.069 trillion in 2016. In 2016, goods exports totaled over $496.919 billion while goods imports totaled nearly $572.217 billion. The CalChamber, in keeping with long-standing policy, enthusiastically supports free trade worldwide, expansion of international trade and investment, fair and equitable market access for California products abroad, and elimination of disincentives that impede the international competitiveness of California business.
On February 2, President Donald Trump announced the United States’ intention to engage in negotiations related to NAFTA. Since then, the U.S.Trade Representative (USTR) has begun consultations with committees of jurisdiction in Congress and advisory committees.
On May 18, USTR Robert Lighthizer notified Congress that President Trump intends to renegotiate NAFTA.
In the letter to Congress, Ambassador Lighthizer expresses the Trump administration’s commitment to concluding the negotiations with timely and substantive results for U.S. consumers, businesses, farmers, ranchers, and workers. These goals will be pursued consistent with U.S. priorities and the negotiating objectives established by Congress in the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA). Negotiations will begin no earlier than August 16.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is responsible for developing and coordinating U.S. international trade, commodity, and direct investment policy, and overseeing negotiations with other countries.
The FRN seeks comments on a total of 17 topics that will help inform the direction, focus, and content of the NAFTA negotiations. Topics include:
Directions for submitting comments via the Federal Register Notice:
Written comments must be submitted to the U.S. Trade Representative no later than Monday, June 12, 2017. A hearing will be held on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 9:00 am, in the Main Hearing Room at the U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E St. SW, Washington DC, 20436. Persons wishing to testify orally at the hearing must provide written notification of their intention by Monday, June 12, 2017.
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