Commerce Secretary Calls NAFTA 'Obsolete Agreement'

May 4, 2017 11:24 AM
 
Wilbur Ross

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said parts of an Asia-Pacific trade deal rejected by the Trump administration could form the basis of a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement.

“There are some concessions that the Nafta partners made in connection with the proposed TPP,” Ross said in an interview Wednesday at the Bloomberg Breakaway Summit in New York, referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “There is no reason to throw those away. We would view those as the starting point.”

Just days after taking office in January, President Donald Trump withdrew from the TPP, a 12-nation trade deal his predecessor Barack Obama supported but that hadn’t been approved by Congress. Other nations in the pact, which also included America’s Nafta partners Canada and Mexico, have expressed interest in trying to salvage the TPP without the U.S.

Trump’s criticism of TPP has been similar to Nafta, which he blames for hurting U.S. workers and hollowing out the manufacturing sector. He’s threatened to withdraw from the accord if the U.S. can’t negotiate a new version that reduces its trade deficit, particularly with Mexico.

Ross’s comments indicate the U.S. may look for Mexico and Canada to replicate concessions they made in the TPP negotiations. For example, Canada offered to compensate dairy farmers in TPP member countries, while Mexico agreed to labor reforms such as changes to protect collective bargaining.

Ross said Nafta is “at best an obsolete agreement.”

He suggested the U.S. will try to toughen so-called rules of origin that govern how much local content needs to be included in products such as cars. The administration also wants to modernize the agreement to cover digital services and improve the accord’s dispute-resolution provisions, he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Mayeda in Washington at amayeda@bloomberg.net, David Gura in New York at dgura2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Murray at brmurray@bloomberg.net, Sarah McGregor

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

Back to news


 

Comments

 
Spell Check

No comments have been posted to this News Article

Corn College TV Education Series

2014_Team_Shot_with_Logo

Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!

Markets

Market Data provided by QTInfo.com
Brought to you by Beyer
Close