The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Mexico, and Canada began on Wednesday, August 16th. In advance of any trade negotiation, a team of negotiators are selected. These negotiators may include government representatives, economists, and lawyers. It is up to the negotiating team to put each country’s key objectives on the negotiating table and try to secure the best possible deal for its local economy, producers, and consumers. Here is what you need to know about the chief NAFTA negotiators for each country.
Chief Negotiator Assistant U.S. Trade Representative John Melle has been with the Office of U.S. Trade Representatives (USTR) since 1988. In 2011, Melle was appointed to serve as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Western Hemisphere. As chief negotiator, Melle will oversee the development of the details of the revised NAFTA. Unlike President Donald Trump, Melle has championed NAFTA in terms of forging a strong partnership with Mexico and Canada and reducing unemployment.
Chief Technical Negotiator Kenneth Smith Ramos is currently the director of the Trade and NAFTA Office at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C. He was a part of the original NAFTA negotiating team in the 1990s.
Chief Negotiator Steve Verheul recently served as the chief negotiator for the Canadian-European Union Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement. Verheul’s experience goes as far back as the 1990s, during which he participated in NAFTA trade discussions and the Uruguay Round of negotiations that led to the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
According to a Politico report, the second and third round of negotiations are scheduled for September 1-5 in Mexico City and September 23-27, Canada.
We invite any opinions or updates on the NAFTA renegotiation as it unfolds over the coming months.
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