WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite the controversies surrounding the White House this week, president Trump says he plans on sticking to business as usual when it comes to making America great again and that includes, he says, renegotiating NAFTA.
Following up on his campaign promise to do so, the president notified Congress on Thursday that he intends to enter into renegotiation with Mexico and Canada on the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Speaking on the president’s behalf, newly confirmed United States trade representative Robert Lighthizer notified congressional leaders courtesy a two page memo that the president intends to overhaul the 23-year-old contract, which Trump referred to as “the worst trade deal ever.”
“We are going to give renegotiation a good strong shot,” Lighthizer said in the letter. But the representative refused to comment on whether or not the president would pull out of NAFTA all together should his desired terms and conditions not be met.
“Since the signing of NAFTA, we have seen our manufacturing industry decimated, factories shuttered, and countless workers left jobless,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. “President Trump is going to change that.”
In response to the announcement, both Mexico and Canada indicated that they would welcome the opportunity to renegotiate the agreement if it meant that the pact, which was entered into by then president Bill Clinton in 1994, could benefit all nations involved.
“We look forward to working with the administration to strengthen the agreement in a seamless way and ensure that we retain the current benefits for American workers, farmers and businesses,” Texas Republican Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement.
Since the agreement was entered into, American farmers have primarily benefited from the reduction in trade barriers. But critics say the pact encouraged American manufacturers to relocate some operations to Mexico to take advantage of cheaper labor, resulting in the loss of much needed U.S. manufacturing jobs.