International Trade and Commercial
You can still influence the upcoming NAFTA negotiations – but hurry!
President Trump announced the United States’ intention to engage in negotiations related to NAFTA on February 2, 2017. Since then, USTR has begun consultations with committees of jurisdiction in Congress and advisory committees, as outlined by The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA).
On May 18, 2017, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) notified Congress that President Trump intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Through these negotiations, the United States seeks to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow the U.S. economy by improving U.S. opportunities to trade with Canada and Mexico. In the letter to Congress, USTR Lighthizer expressed the Trump Administration’s commitment to concluding the negotiations with timely and substantive results for U.S. consumers, businesses, farmers, ranchers, and workers. These goals will be pursued consistent with U.S. priorities and the negotiating objectives established by Congress in the TPA.
The notification begins the formal process. Formal negotiations will begin no earlier than August 16, 2017. The TPA lays out the framework for consultations and requires the negotiating priorities to be made public 30 days before the talks start.
On May 23, 2017, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a request for comments and notice of public hearing [Docket No. USTR-2017-0006] concerning the negotiating objectives regarding modernization of NAFTA with Canada and Mexico. The notice states, in part:
The United States intends to commence negotiations with Canada and Mexico regarding modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The NAFTA was negotiated more than 25 years ago, and, while our economy and U.S. businesses have changed considerably over that period, NAFTA has not. The United States seeks to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow the U.S. economy by improving U.S. opportunities under NAFTA. Our specific objectives for this negotiation will comply with the specific objectives set forth by Congress in section 102 of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015.
USTR is seeking public comments on matters relevant to the modernization of NAFTA in order to inform development of U.S. negotiating positions. To assist USTR as it develops its negotiating objectives and positions for the agreement, interested persons are invited to submit comments and/or oral testimony at a public hearing on matters relevant to the modernization of the NAFTA. In particular, comments are being sought regarding:
(a) General and product-specific negotiating objectives for Canada and Mexico in the context of a NAFTA modernization.
(b) Economic costs and benefits to U.S. producers and consumers of removal of any remaining tariffs and removal or reduction of non-tariff barriers on articles traded with Canada and Mexico.
(c) Treatment of specific goods (described by HTSUS numbers), including comments on—
(1) Product-specific import or export interests or barriers,
(2) Experience with particular measures that should be addressed in negotiations, and
(3) Addressing any remaining tariffs on articles traded with Canada, including ways to address export priorities and import sensitivities related to Canada and Mexico in the context of the NAFTA.
(d) Customs and trade facilitation issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.
(e) Appropriate modifications to rules of origin or origin procedures for NAFTA qualifying goods.
(f) Any unwarranted sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade imposed by Canada and Mexico that should be addressed in the negotiations.
(g) Relevant barriers to trade in services between the United States and Canada and Mexico that should be addressed in the negotiations.
(h) Relevant digital trade issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.
(i) Relevant trade-related intellectual property rights issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.
(j) Relevant investment issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.
(k) Relevant competition-related matters that should be addressed in the negotiations.
(l) Relevant government procurement issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.
(m) Relevant environmental issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.
(n) Relevant labor issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.
(o) Issues of particular relevance to small and medium-sized businesses that should be addressed in the negotiations.
(p) Relevant trade remedy issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.
(q) Relevant state-owned enterprise issues that should be addressed in the
Baker McKenzie’s North American International Commercial and Trade Practice Group members can assist you in the preparation of comments.
If you wish to testify at the hearing, you must provide written notification and a summary of your testimony to USTR by Monday, June 12, 2017. If you wish to submit written comments, they are also due by Monday, June 12, 2017. A hearing will be held at 9 a.m. in the Main Hearing Room of the United States International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20436, on Tuesday, June 27, 2017.
You should submit notifications of intent to testify and written comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments in part 3 of the Federal Register notice. Special rules apply for submitting Business Confidential information. Comments may be typed directly into the Federal eRulemaking Portal or uploaded. Comments will be placed in the docket and open to public inspection, except business confidential information. For alternatives to on-line submissions, please contact Yvonne Jamison, Trade Policy Staff Committee, at (202) 395–3475.
Please check out our websites:
Should you wish to obtain further information or want to discuss any issues raised in this alert with us, please contact:
USA – Washington
Michael E. (“Ted”) Murphy
+1 202 452 7069
Teresa A. Gleason
+1 202 452 7030
+1 202 452 7084
+1 202 452 7089
USA – Chicago
+1 312 861 2808
Paul E. Amberg
+1 312 861 8675
USA – San Francisco/Palo Alto
John F. McKenzie
+1 415 576 3033
Paul D. Burns
+1 416 865 6912
+1 416 865 2327
+1 416 865 2334
+52 55 5279 2947
Raymundo E. Enriquez
+52 55 5279 2906
This Client Alert prepared by
Stuart P. Seidel
International Trade Resource Attorney
+1 202 452 7088
This client alert provided by Baker & McKenzie LLP is intended to provide our clients, and other interested parties, with an overview of the recent legal changes in the relevant area for information purposes only. The information contained in this client alert does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion, and should not be regarded as a substitute for detailed advice in individual cases. The information, as referred to in this client alert, is based on the laws, regulations, notifications, practice and policy at the time of its production. The laws, regulations, notifications, practice and policy may change from time-to-time and, therefore, the use of this client alert must be taken with due care. You are strongly advised that no use should be made of the information in this client alert without prior consultation with Baker & McKenzie LLP. No portion hereof may be reproduced or transmitted, by any means, without the prior written permission from Baker & McKenzie LLP. All rights reserved.
Baker & McKenzie LLP is a member of Baker & McKenzie International, a Swiss Verein with member law firms around the world. In accordance with the common terminology used in professional service organizations, reference to a “partner” means a person who is a partner, or equivalent, in such a law firm. Similarly, reference to an “office” means an office of any such law firm.
©2017 Baker & McKenzie LLP. All rights reserved. This may qualify as “Attorney Advertising” requiring notice in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.