NAFTA Talks Not Happening Soon

President Donald Trump says the White House will offer some preliminary plans on the possible renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement sometime within the next two weeks. While he didn’t get more specific than that, Politico’s Morning Agriculture report adds that a White House spokesman says the Administration is currently working on negotiating text with Congress. The White House will then proceed with the required 90-day notice to Congress once a U.S. Trade Representative is confirmed. Robert Lighthizer is the nominee for the position but his confirmation is being held up because of past work he’s done representing foreign governments in Washington, D.C. Democrats say he needs a waiver approved by both the House and Senate to be confirmed, while the White House says he doesn’t. Before the letter can be sent to Congress, the White House must complete a series of meetings with groups of lawmakers, one of which is the Senate Advisory Group on Negotiations. Democrats on the panel are refusing to meet with anyone but Lighthizer. As a result, Politico says it’s looking like the nominee will have to get the waiver, clear a committee vote, and then get the full Senate vote for confirmation. All that means the two-week timeline is more than a little uncertain.

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