President Trump’s top trade official has issued new objectives for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement — including some likely to irk Canada and Mexico, as well as the U.S. recording industry and other major business interests, as talks continue this weekend.
There are few surprises in the 17-page document, given recent revelations and sharp words from NAFTA negotiators. But the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, or USTR, made some notable additions and changes to the blueprint it initially outlined in July, a month before talks began, adding a fresh degree of uncertainty to the talks.
Besides affirming that the Trump administration wants to rewrite key portions of the 23-year-old pact, including access to federal government contracts and minimum local-sourcing requirements, to name two of the more controversial ones, the USTR made clear it wants to pry open Canada’s protected dairy market and eviscerate a process in which foreign firms can sue governments for discrimination or expropriation.
Among the updated goals is new language that the U.S. would seek to limit liability for Internet giants like Google, Facebook and Comcast that host or transmit online content — a move that will be bitterly opposed by the U.S. music and recording industry, whose sales have been battered by piracy.