U.S. President Donald Trump’s top trade official laid down a hard negotiating line for revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement on Wednesday, saying that major changes were needed to slash U.S. trade deficits and boost U.S. content in autos.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said NAFTA had “failed many, many Americans” and Trump was not interested in merely tweaking the 23-year-old pact, and would seek major changes that would increase North American and U.S. content for autos and strong labor standards.
“We need to ensure that the huge trade deficits do not continue and we have balance and reciprocity. This should be periodically reviewed,” Lighthizer said in opening remarks at NAFTA negotiations in Washington. “The rules of origin, particularly on autos and auto parts, must require higher NAFTA content and substantial U.S. content.”