The Trump administration is calling on Canada and Mexico to avoid manipulating exchange rates as part of a re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. "This includes the elimination of unfair subsidies, market-distorting practices by state owned enterprises, and burdensome restrictions of intellectual property", the USTR said in the document posted on Monday.
It's the first time that USTR has included deficit reduction as a specific objective for NAFTA negotiation, reflecting the Donald Trump administration's determination to address the trade deficit.
"President Trump continues to fulfill his promise to renegotiate NAFTA to get a much better deal for all Americans", Lighthizer said in an accompanying press statement.
The negotiating objectives also include adding a digital economy chapter and incorporating and strengthening labor and environment obligations that are now in NAFTA side agreements.
According to the statement, the United States had a deficit of 64 billion US dollars with Mexico in 2016, compared to a surplus of 1.3 billion dollars in 1994 when NAFTA was implemented.
It will also seek to ensure NAFTA countries don't engage in currency manipulation "to prevent effective balance of payments adjustment or to gain an unfair competitive advantage".
Donald Trump puts NAFTA on notice
It will also seek to update and strengthen rules of origin "to ensure that the benefits of NAFTA go to products genuinely made in the United States and North America".
They point to sectors like autos, where U.S. inputs make up some 40 percent of the value of products imported into the United States from Mexico, while Chinese exports contain only 4 percent, according to the U.S. Center for Automotive Research.
The objectives have been released in advance of the start of meetings with Canada and Mexico next month.
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President Donald Trump retreated from his threat to exit NAFTA, but has described the agreement as a "disaster" that has drained the U.S. of wealth and jobs.
President Bill Clinton signed NAFTA in December 1993. He said. "We're going to start doing that again".