The U.S., Canada and Mexico are set to start the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement in August.


The first round of discussions will be Aug. 16-20 in Washington, D.C., according to a news release by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.


Yet to be announced are how many rounds of negotiation will happen, where each will take place, and an end date for the talks, although Reuters reported that the goal is to conclude in early 2018 before Mexico’s presidential election.


Objectives for the U.S. include eliminating “unfair subsidies, market-distorting practices by state-owned enterprises, and burdensome restrictions of intellectual property,” according to an Office of the U.S. Trade Representative document.


The U.S. also aims to add a digital economy chapter to the accord and strengthen labor and environmental requirements.


The objectives were crafted after the review of more than 12,000 public comments and three days of testimony from more than 140 witnesses, according to another release.


Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Western Hemisphere John Melle will be the lead negotiator on NAFTA, responsible for handling daily discussions.

Original article July 21, The Packer

NAFTA negotiations to begin in August