>> The U.S. government officially taking the first step toward renegotiating a trade deal which President Donald Trump has repeatedly called a disaster. US trade representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday informing Congress he'd triggered a 90-day consultation period between the Administration, lawmakers, and the American public, clearing the way for talks with Canada and Mexico on the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trump had threatened to cancel the treaty while on the campaign trail and since taking office.>> And if I can't make a great deal, then we're gonna terminate NAFTA and we're gonna create new deals. If I'm unable to make a fair deal, if I'm unable to make a fair deal for the United States, meaning a fair deal for our workers and our companies, I will terminate NAFTA.
>> Trump's trade representative saying in his confirmation hearing that trade pacts should be in accordance with the administration's policy of America First.>> We can do better in negotiating our trade agreements and be stronger in enforcing our trade laws.>> NAFTA is blamed for moving US manufacturing jobs to Mexico.
It is also praised for providing lower cost products to American consumers and opening up new markets for American business.>> A disruption like cancelling NAFTA, even if it theoretically eventually might lead to better outcomes would cause a lot of short and medium term pain.>> Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau has welcomed the opportunity to revisit the 23 year old trade pact, saying he will protect Canadian interests.
Mexico's government has said it values the US as a trading partner, but will not hesitate to walk away from a deal that isn't fair. The negotiations are set to begin on August 16th.