Trump hasn't officially entered the White House yet, but his nominee for commerce secretary is already preparing for trade talks with Mexico and Canada.
President-elect Donald Trump hasn't entered the White House yet, but his nominee for commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, has reportedly sent a formal notification to Canadian officials that he wants to immediately engage in talks about the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Ross's correspondence suggests he plans to initially focus on two specific provisions, including rules of origin and dispute tribunals, according to The Globe and Mail.
The origin rules dictate thresholds for non-NAFTA components contained in products that are assembled in the US, Canada or Mexico. If certain goods exceed the allowances, they may be disqualified from duty-free trade between the NAFTA signatories.
The trade pact attempts to handle disagreements or challenges via independent tripartite panels with the power to arbitrate disputes. Like the origin rules, the panels are steeped in fine print and could provide a legal gray area for Trump's administration to apply pressure or extract concessions without repealing the broader trade agreement.
Speaking in an earlier interview with BNN, Ross hinted that any renegotiations would be focused on trade between the US and Mexico -- not with Canada.
"In the case of the trade between the U.S. and Canada, it is relatively much better-balanced than is the trade between the U.S. and Mexico," he said.