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Brady & Reichert Statements on Trump Administration NAFTA Negotiating Objectives

July 17, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA) today released the following statements after the Trump Administration released its negotiating objectives for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Chairman Brady stated:

“I welcome the Trump Administration’s release of its detailed negotiating objectives to modernize and upgrade NAFTA to ensure it continues to benefit American workers. These objectives set an ambitious standard for improving NAFTA and make clear that the United States is seeking strong, enforceable rules that go beyond any agreement ever negotiated. For example, the Administration intends to go well beyond TPP in imposing disciplines on state-owned enterprises that distort trade. Setting such high standards allows us to use an improved NAFTA as a model for future trade agreements, which means that the United States would be setting global rules – not our competitors.  

“I’m also pleased to see enforcement highlighted in these objectives, through the inclusion of enforceable standards and strong dispute settlement procedures. A rigorous investor-state dispute settlement process is essential to holding other countries accountable and ensuring that other countries play by the same rules.  

“Finally, I emphasize that as we improve NAFTA, we must preserve the advantages that our manufacturers, service providers, farmers, workers, and consumers now enjoy with respect to NAFTA across our economy. Maintaining existing benefits, plus improving our access to Mexico and Canada, will allow us to continue to create American jobs, spur economic growth, and open up new opportunities for all Americans through NAFTA.” 

Chairman Reichert said: 

“Washington’s consumers, farmers, and manufacturers have benefited greatly from NAFTA, and these gains must be maintained. At the same time we have an opportunity to modernize the agreement to address new issues. The Administration’s NAFTA negotiating objectives set a high and ambitious bar to update and upgrade NAFTA. These objectives would address challenges Washington’s businesses face in today’s digital economy. This includes red tape and burdensome customs procedures, the expansion of forced localization requirements and restrictions on the flow of cross-border data, and inadequate rules governing e-commerce. These objectives would also help Washington’s innovators by protecting intellectual property and support the work of our farmers and producers, who rely on access to foreign markets but face significant challenges caused by arbitrary restrictions and protectionist measures.

“The creation of new markets for American products and services through trade agreements goes hand-in-hand with enforcement, and we must be sure to enforce new and current rules through effective dispute settlement provisions, including the proven tool of investor-state dispute settlement. 

“The need for modern trade rules is clear – particularly in light of our withdrawal from TPP earlier this year. We must continue to lead in setting the high standards needed for today’s economy. These objectives will do just that.”