NAFTA Renegotiations — The USA's Objectives

Introduction

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has released a Summary of the USA's North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation objectives. The USTR's Press Release states that "too many Americans have been hurt by closed factories, exported jobs and broken political promises... USTR will negotiate a fair deal." The Summary's introduction states:

"But NAFTA also created new problems for many American workers. Since the deal came into force in 1994, trade deficits have exploded, thousands of factories have closed, and millions of Americans have found themselves stranded, no longer able to utilize the skills for which they had been trained... The new NAFTA must continue to break down barriers to American exports. This includes the elimination of unfair subsidies, market-distorting practices by state owned enterprises, and burdensome restrictions of intellectual property. The new NAFTA will be modernized to reflect 21st century standards and will reflect a fairer deal, addressing America's persistent trade imbalances in North America..."

The Summary of Objectives for the NAFTA Renegotiation cover existing chapters of NAFTA (e.g. Trade in Goods; Customs and Rules of Origin; Services; Technical Barriers to Trade; Intellectual Property ; Trade Remedies and Dispute Settlement) and new areas such as Digital Trade in Goods and Services and Cross-Border Data Flows; Anti-Corruption; and Currency. Further details about some of the USA's NAFTA renegotiation objectives are set out below.

Intellectual Property

The objectives include:

Ensure provisions governing intellectual property rights reflect a standard of protection similar to that found in U.S. law. Provide strong protection and enforcement for new and emerging technologies and new methods of transmitting and distributing products embodying intellectual property, including in a manner that facilitates legitimate digital trade. Ensure standards of protection and enforcement that keep pace with technological developments, and in particular ensure that rightholders have the legal and technological means to control the use of their works through the Internet and other global communication media, and to prevent the unauthorized use of their works. Provide strong standards enforcement of intellectual property rights, including by requiring accessible, expeditious, and effective civil, administrative, and criminal enforcement mechanisms. Prevent or eliminate government involvement in the violation of intellectual property rights, including cybertheft and piracy. Respect the Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, adopted by the World Trade Organization at the Fourth Ministerial Conference at Doha, Qatar on November 14, 2001, and to ensure that trade agreements foster innovation and promote access to medicines. Prevent the undermining of market access for U.S. products through the improper use of a country's system for protecting or recognizing geographical indications, including failing to ensure transparency and procedural fairness and protecting generic terms. Investment

Establish rules that reduce or eliminate barriers to U.S. investment in all sectors in the NAFTA countries. Secure for U.S. investors in the NAFTA countries important rights consistent with U.S. legal principles and practice, while ensuring that NAFTA country investors in the United States are not accorded greater substantive rights than domestic investors. Trade Remedies

The objectives include:

Eliminate the Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism. Eliminate the NAFTA global safeguard exclusion so that it does not restrict the ability of the United States to apply measures in future investigations. Seek a separate domestic industry provision for perishable and seasonal products in AD/CVD proceedings. Exclude state-owned enterprises as part of the domestic industry in AD/CVD proceedings. Facilitate the ability to impose measures based on third country dumping. Strengthen existing procedures and create new procedures to address AD/CVD duty evasion, including the ability to conduct AD/CVD verification visits. Government Procurement

The objectives include:

Increase opportunities for U.S. firms to sell U.S. products and services into the NAFTA countries. Exclude sub-federal coverage (state and local governments) from the commitments being negotiated. Keep in place domestic preferential purchasing programs such as: Preference programs for small businesses, women and minority owned businesses (which includes Native Americans), service-disabled veterans, and distressed areas; "Buy America" requirements on Federal assistance to state and local projects, transportation services, food assistance, and farm support; and Key Department of Defense procurement. Maintain broad exceptions for government procurement regarding: National security; Measures necessary to protect public morals, order, or safety; Protecting human, animal, or plant life or health; and...

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