The Trump administration has released its broad goals for a new North American Free Trade Agreement in mostly vague language that offers just enough specific clues to point to potentially tough negotiations ahead.
The U.S. says it wants more exports of its dairy products, wine and grains; freer trade in telecommunications and online purchases; new rules on currency manipulation; an overhaul of the dispute-settlement system; and more access for U.S. banks abroad.
A Washington-based trade expert who advises the Canadian government didn’t flinch when asked what this means for NAFTA talks, which are scheduled to start next month: “Longer, rather than shorter,” said Eric Miller, a consultant at Rideau Potomac who advises Industry Canada.
“It will be pretty intense and hard-fought. … Don’t expect it to be finished in less than eight months,” Miller said. “And expect Canada to have to fight hard for issues it cares about.”