Mexico warns US of alternatives on trade, points to China

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said NAFTA is

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said NAFTA is"at best out of date and at worst did not accomplish some of its most important goals

But Dean Pinkert, formerly of the U.S. International Trade Commission, says he thinks Lighthizer will seek better ways to use existing agreements before tearing them up.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) said it was important for the Trump administration and Congress to pick someone like Lighthizer as USTR chief, since he understands the impacts and importance of trade to USA industry and the nation's economy.

The US Senate has confirmed Robert Lighthizer as the next US trade representative, in a move that could lead the Trump administration to advance protectionist shifts in its trade policies, such as renegotiating NAFTA.

Separately the Administration has said it is considering withdrawal from NAFTA - and that NAFTA would only be up for re-negotiation, not withdrawal.

He also offered a rebuke to China on its trade policy.

Guajardo said the plan to trigger a USA withdrawal of NAFTA was done "in desperation, which occurs very frequently these days in those parts" - an apparent jab at the way Trump has rolled out some of his key policy proposals.

Although Lighthizer was confirmed in a landslide, notable Senators, such as John McCain, voted against him, citing fears that Lighthizer's renegotiation of NAFTA will hurt states like Arizona which depend on free trade.

Guajardo noted Mexico sends China a fraction of its total exports, and that the two major manufacturing nations tend to compete rather than complement one another on trade.

Lighthizer has criticized some Republicans for being too pro-free trade. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who spent the previous eight years in Congress fighting a Democratic White House on trade.

Just two years ago, a solid bipartisan majority supported free trade. Nebraska Farm Bureau National Affairs Coordinator Jordan Dux says they're pleased Lighthizer has been confirmed and hopes he'll defend USA agriculture in all trade discussions.

Lighthizer served as a top aide on the Senate Finance Committee under Sen.

Republicans who still support the multilateral deals of the past are hopeful that Lighthizer's background in the Reagan administration means he will be more thoughtful than some of Trump's Twitter diplomacy on trade.

Guajardo said the trip to China would be in September but did not provide details. When it negotiated China's 2001 entry into the World Trade Organization - which sets trade rules and mediates disputes - Washington naively assumed that China was "merely a more exotic version of Canada" and would learn to live within WTO rules and open its market to American exports, Lighthizer argued.

Under Lighthizer, Wolff says, "trade policy is going to get a lot more muscular".

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