The United States commenced bilateral trade negotiations with Canada more than 30 years ago, resulting in the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force on January 1, 1989. In 1991, bilateral talks began with Mexico, which Canada joined. The NAFTA followed, entering into force on January 1, 1994. Tariffs were eliminated progressively and all duties and quantitative restrictions, with the exception of those on a limited number of agricultural products traded with Canada, were eliminated by 2008.
NAFTA also includes chapters covering rules of origin, customs procedures, agriculture and sanitary and phytosanitary measures, government procurement, investment, trade in services, protection of intellectual property rights, and dispute settlement procedures. For the full NAFTA text, click here.
On May 18, 2017, following consultations with relevant Congressional committees, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer informed Congress that the President intends to commence negotiations with Canada and Mexico with respect to the NAFTA. Through these negotiations, 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.
USTR recently received numerous public comments in response to a notice in the Federal Register seeking comments on negotiating objectives. To view these comments please click here. In addition, in three days of hearings from June 27-29, 2017, USTR heard directly from over 140 witnesses, who provided testimony on a wide range of sectors, from agriculture to manufacturing and digital trade, and represented industries, workers, farmers and ranchers. To review the transcripts for those hearings, please click here.
The United States, Canada and Mexico have agreed that the information exchanged in the context of the NAFTA negotiations, such as the negotiating text, proposals of each Government, accompanying explanatory material, and emails related to the substance of the negotiations, must remain confidential. Pursuant to this agreement, USTR has classified the materials. This means that they are not available under the Freedom of Information Act. To review the confidentiality agreement, please click here.
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This article was originally posted on USTR.gov here