June 15, 2017
On May 18, 2017, United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer officially notified Congress of President Trump’s intent to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), kick-starting the 90-day wait period that must take place prior to the commencement of negotiations. Lighthizer stated that the administration’s objective in the negotiations is to modernize NAFTA, support higher-paying U.S. jobs, and grow the U.S. economy. Subsequently, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published a notice requesting public comments on matters relevant to modernizing NAFTA, in order to help shape U.S. negotiating objectives and positions with respect to several areas, including (but not limited to) rules of origin, digital trade, intellectual property rights, customs and trade facilitation, trade remedies, government procurement, trade barriers, and tariffs. The USTR also announced in the notice that it would hold a hearing on the matter on Tuesday, June 27th. While the period has ended to submit comments and notify the USTR of testimony intended for the June 27th hearing, there is also another opportunity to provide the administration with input on NAFTA.
On June 1st, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) published a notice announcing the initiation of an investigation and the scheduling of a public hearing on the probable economic effects of providing duty-free treatment for, or eliminating tariffs on, imports of products from Canada and Mexico that are currently dutiable or subject to tariffs. On May 18th, the USTR requested that the USITC provide certain advice and prepare an assessment on these matters. Specifically, with respect to providing duty-free treatment to currently dutiable products from Canada and Mexico, the report is to contain the USITC’s advice as to the probable economic effect on (1) industries in the United States producing like or directly competitive products, and (2) consumers. The report is to also include an assessment of the probable economic effects of eliminating tariffs on imports of certain agricultural products from Canada and Mexico currently still subject to U.S. tariffs; specifically, the probable economic effects on (1) industries in the United States producing the products concerned, and (2) the U.S. economy as a whole. In addition to participating in the hearing, interested parties may also submit written comments concerning the USITC’s investigation. If you are interested in providing input on the matter, below are deadlines that you should be aware of.
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