A White House blueprint for changing the North American Free Trade Agreement is coming under fire for sounding too much like the defunct Obama administration Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, Politico reports.
"For those who trusted [President Donald] Trump's pledge to make NAFTA 'much better' for working people, it's a punch in the face because the proposal describes TPP or any other same-old, same-old trade deal," Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, told Politico.
Politico reported it obtained a draft the U.S. Trade Representative sent to lawmakers in a letter this week.
According to Politico, the draft includes provisions in the TPP agreement that Trump abandoned right after he took office, such as enforceable labor and environment standards, rules requiring that state-owned enterprises operate on commercial terms, and data free flow requirements.
The letter also lays out a proposed NAFTA deal that retains concepts that've been criticized by Trump, according to Politico, and fails to address rules to punish countries for devaluing their currencies.
According to Politico, other details from the draft letter show the administration:
- Appears to want to safeguard the government's ability to deny foreign companies from bidding on government projects and requirements that American-made steel and other products are used.
- Wants to push Canada and Mexico to open their government procurement to more U.S. goods and services.
- Promises a new "safeguard" provision to let the United States ratchet up tariffs to defend against import surges, and to "seek to level the playing field on tax treatment."
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday the document is "not a statement of administration policy," Politico reported. "That is not an accurate assessment of where we are at this time."
He said the administration's policy toward NAFTA wouldn't fully materialize until Trump's pick for U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, is confirmed.
© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.