Dairy: NAFTA Relationships Need Attention as Lighthizer Begins

Minister Francois Philippe Champagne

GE backs NAFTA and voices support for Mexico

The appointment of Robert Lighthizer as the next United States trade representative could see the Trump administration's long-awaited plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) get underway as early as mid-August, reports suggest.

Derek Gianino, director of global policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C., said the chamber and other business leaders jumped into action when they heard about it.

Lighthizer, seen as a trade hawk, will play a pivotal role in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico.

Soon after, Trump said he intends to quickly file a 90-day notice with Congress to kickstart the NAFTA talks with Canada and Mexico, a requirement under USA law.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer also said Lighthizer will attend the May 20-21 meeting of trade ministers from the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries in Hanoi, Vietnam.

President Donald Trump has said if negotiations do not go his way he'll pull out of the pact.

The Republican senator wants the Trump administration to revamp the agreement, not end it. Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona and Ben Sasse of Nebraska said last week that they meant to oppose the nomination because Lighthizer "failed to reassure us that you understand the North American Free Trade Agreement's (NAFTA) positive economic benefits". "From manufacturing to agriculture, high-tech to financial services, Robert Lighthizer has distinguished himself as a tireless defender of America's workers and America's future, and now he'll be doing it for the United States of America", Pence said.

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