Smucker Leads Freshman Members Calling for USTR to Update Congress on NAFTA Negotiations
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (PA-16) is working to update Congress on the status of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and is urging the administration to prioritize American interests in any renegotiation of the trade agreement.
Rep. Smucker led a group of freshman House members in sending a letter to United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to request a briefing on the status of NAFTA renegotiations between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The letter comes after the completion of the fourth round of negotiations, and after the administration committed to working closely and transparently with Congress.
In the letter, Rep. Smucker highlights the importance of this trade agreement, saying:
“Canada and Mexico are the top two trading partners for the U.S. goods and services, accounting for more than one-third of total U.S. exports and supporting 14 million American jobs.”
The full letter is below.
The Honorable Robert E. Lighthizer
Office of the United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20508
Dear Ambassador Lighthizer,
As freshman Members of Congress, we are writing to request a briefing from you to discuss the status of the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Now that the United States, Canada, and Mexico have completed the fourth round of renegotiations of NAFTA, we are eager to receive an update on the progress that you and your agency have made towards strengthening the free trade agreement.
On May 18, 2017 you sent a letter to congressional leadership indicating that you would consult closely and transparently with Congress to develop negotiation policies that reflect Congress’ trade agenda. These consultations are warranted and expected as NAFTA underpins the U.S. economy in various ways. Canada and Mexico are the top two trading partners for U.S. goods and services, accounting for more than one-third of total U.S. exports and supporting 14 million American jobs. In the last year, we have heard from various constituencies in our districts about the significant trade gains that they have seen from NAFTA as well as the existing barriers that limit market access with our trading partners.
Administrative officials have committed to “do no harm” to U.S. exports in modernizing NAFTA, but several proposals under consideration would do just that, including weakening dispute settlement and imposing a five-year “sunset” on NAFTA, which would introduce the prospect of agreement termination every five years unless all three countries decide to renew it.
It is imperative that any renegotiation of NAFTA safeguards the significant trade gains made over the past 23 years. Meanwhile, this renegotiation must serve as an opportunity for the United States to expand its market share and increase American competitiveness. We must ensure that any modifications to NAFTA prevent American jobs from being shipped overseas and increases the productivity of American businesses so hardworking Americans can see more in their paychecks. Please know that we stand ready to work with you and your staff on strengthening this trade agreement.
Given the urgency of this issue with the fifth round of NAFTA discussions scheduled to take place in Mexico City, Mexico during November we sincerely hope that you will give this request your immediate attention. Thank you for your consideration and attention to this important matter.