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ANSI Seeks Comments on USTR Request Regarding the Modernization of North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico

Responses due by Monday, June 5

05/23/2017

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is seeking feedback to develop a consensus response on behalf of the standardization community regarding on a May 23 Federal Register Notice on the modernization of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico. ANSI encourages its members to consider the questions posed in the notice and submit responses to intl@ansi.org by COB on Monday, June 5, for consideration for inclusion in a consensus response ANSI will submit.

The notice, issued by the Office of United States Trade Representative (USTR), details that the United States commenced bilateral trade negotiations with Canada more than 30 years ago, resulting in the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force on January 1, 1989. In 1991, bilateral talks began with Mexico, which Canada joined. NAFTA followed, entering into force on January 1, 1994. Tariffs were eliminated progressively, and all duties and quantitative restrictions, with the exception of those on a limited number of agricultural products traded with Canada, were eliminated by 2008. NAFTA also includes chapters covering rules of origin, customs procedures, agriculture and sanitary and phytosanitary measures, government procurement, investment, trade in services, protection of intellectual property rights, and dispute settlement procedures. [See the full NAFTA text]

The notice also announces a public hearing on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at 9:00 a.m., in the Main Hearing Room at the U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E St. SW., Washington, DC 20436. Persons wishing to testify orally at the hearing must provide written notification of their intention by Monday, June 12, 2017.

The Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) seeks stakeholder input on the following key areas relevant to the modernization of NAFTA:

(a) General and product-specific negotiating objectives for Canada and Mexico in the context of a NAFTA modernization.

(b) Economic costs and benefits to U.S. producers and consumers of removal of any remaining tariffs and removal or reduction of non-tariff barriers on articles traded with Canada and Mexico.

(c) Treatment of specific goods (described by HTSUS numbers), including comments on—

(1) Product-specific import or export interests or barriers,

(2) Experience with particular measures that should be addressed in negotiations, and

(3) Addressing any remaining tariffs on articles traded with Canada, including ways to address export priorities and import sensitivities related to Canada and Mexico in the context of the NAFTA.

(d) Customs and trade facilitation issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.

(e) Appropriate modifications to rules of origin or origin procedures for NAFTA qualifying goods.

(f) Any unwarranted sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade imposed by Canada and Mexico that should be addressed in the negotiations.

(g) Relevant barriers to trade in services between the United States and Canada and Mexico that should be addressed in the negotiations.

(h) Relevant digital trade issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.

(i) Relevant trade-related intellectual property rights issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.

(j) Relevant investment issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.

(k) Relevant competition-related matters that should be addressed in the negotiations.

(l) Relevant government procurement issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.

(m) Relevant environmental issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.

(n) Relevant labor issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.

(o) Issues of particular relevance to small and medium-sized businesses that should be addressed in the negotiations.

(p) Relevant trade remedy issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.

(q) Relevant state-owned enterprise issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.

In order for ANSI to have sufficient time to develop a consensus response on behalf of the standardization community, ANSI members are asked to consider the questions posed in the notice and submit comments to intl@ansi.org by COB Monday, June 5.

ANSI also encourages individual companies and organizations to submit their own comments in direct response to the notice. Comments are due to the USTR by Monday, June 12, 2017, using the www.regulations.gov website; enter docket number USTR-2017-0006.

For procedural questions concerning written comments or participation in the public hearing, contact Yvonne Jamison at (202) 395-3475. Direct all other questions regarding this notice to Daniel Watson, Deputy Assistant United States Trade Representative for North America, at (202) 395-9587.

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