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US Releases NAFTA Negotiation Goals

Corporate Tax Planning
July 24, 2017

Last week, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced their NAFTA negotiation goals  for the upcoming renegotiation process. In order to proceed under the “fast-track” process rules, these had to be presented to Congress for feedback before beginning formal discussions.

Broad NAFTA negotiation goals do not disclose specific policies

There are a number of details missing from the document released, and it has been criticized for being overly vague. Despite hyperbolic statements about the negative impact of NAFTA on the US economy, it appears that the administration’s goals are not as extreme as might have been expected.

Although lacking in specifics, the USTR has set out aspirational objectives, possibly with an eye to minimizing negative feedback from Congress. Key goals include reducing US trade deficits and opening investment in foreign industries, and there is an emphasis on protecting corporate interests.

Some of the suggestions seem to have been pulled directly from the rejected Trans-Pacific Partnership, including stronger protections for the environment and support for digital cross-border trade. Those issues have already been discussed by the parties, and will be beneficial in modernizing a forty-year old NAFTA, which lacks any reference to digital goods and services, or online content.

NAFTA negotiations soon to begin in earnest

After the 30-day window for feedback from Congress, renegotiation can formally begin. Mexican and Canadian representatives are committed to a speedy process, agreeing to attempt seven negotiating sessions before the end of 2017. Still, questions remain as to whether it is feasible to conclude negotiations before the Mexican presidential election campaigns begin in 2018.

Canadian negotiators have yet to set out any goals or framework that will guide their position at the table, nor are they required to do so. That being said, with recent successes establishing the Canada-E.U. CETA and the TPP, the experience brought to bear by Canada’s team will be extensive. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has assured Canadians that our national interests will be protected.

Corporate tax advice from cross-border specialists

At Feigenbaum Tax Law, we provide tailored solutions to meet your corporate tax planning needs. Our team has extensive experience assisting companies and sole proprietors with US-Canadian trade and operations, and can help you plan for any possible impact that NAFTA negotiations may have on your business.

Contact us online, or call our office toll free at (877) 275-4792 to make an appointment.

Tagged: NAFTA