“Today, President Trump fulfilled one of his key promises to the American people,” Mr. Lighthizer said on Thursday. “For years, politicians have called for the renegotiation of this agreement, but President Trump is the first to follow through with that promise.”
The move was met with skepticism by organizations that have long pressed for major changes to Nafta and have argued that Mr. Trump had already fallen short of his promises on trade.
“Donald Trump promised that he’d fix Nafta on his first day in office,” Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, an environmental group, said in a statement. “One hundred and nineteen days later, he has managed to send Congress a two-page letter that fails to include any real plan to fix a deal that has undermined environmental protections, eliminated jobs, undercut wages, polluted our air and water, and fueled climate change.”
The page-long letter stood in stark contrast to an eight-page version circulated on Capitol Hill in March, which proposed adding a provision to allow tariffs to be reinstated if a flood of imports threatened to harm a domestic industry. It also said the Trump administration would seek to adjust the agreement’s rules of origin, or how much of a product must be made in a Nafta country.
The notice sent on Thursday instead mentioned repeatedly that any changes would be the result of congressional consultation, and it pledged close coordination and “transparency” with lawmakers throughout the renegotiation process. It laid out the framework for the talks in…