Opinion: U.S. will take hard line during NAFTA negotiations

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left, shakes hands with Mexico's Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, accompanied by Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland,after attending a news conference, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, at the start of NAFTA Renegotiations in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Let the negotiations begin.

This week, leaders from the United States, Canada and Mexico are sitting down to begin re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. The negotiations are expected to stretch out into next year.

President Trump has been very vocal about his thoughts on the 23-year-old trade deal.

Throughout the campaign, President Trump called NAFTA “the worst trade deal ever made by any country I think in the world."

So, what is it about NAFTA that the president does not like?

Let’s break it down.

The Trump administration says that the United States is losing on this deal while Mexico and Canada are benefitting.

For example, our trade deficit with Mexico was $63 billion last year. Over the last 10 years, it stands at over $550 billion. A trade deficit means that we’re buying more stuff from them than they are from us.

The president has also blamed NAFTA as a reason why manufacturing jobs have been relocated to Mexico from United States.

However, NAFTA is also important for our economy.

According to the Department of Commerce, about 14 million jobs in the U.S. depend on trade with Canada and Mexico. More than $1 billion in goods crosses our borders every single day.

If certain changes are not agreed upon, President Trump has said that the U.S. could pull out of NAFTA. Even if that were to occur, I believe the agreement would be replaced be a different agreement, or agreements, with Mexico and Canada.

The bottom line is that the president does intend to take a hard line on NAFTA and is leaving all options on the table. There is no reason that we should allow for our partners to reap most of the benefits from trade with the United States.

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