Comments filed in advance of the opening round of talks, in response to a request from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, reflected an overwhelming desire of transportation service providers, automakers and agricultural groups to preserve the basic tenants of the landmark trade agreement that has been in effect since 1994.
And on Sunday it looked like the US was on the way to a successful start to renegotiation.
That the US-Canadian trade relationship would be a bigger deal for Canada than for the United States is in some ways merely to be expected.
"Abruptly ending NAFTA could create a string of unintended consequences that need to be carefully considered", said Ann Wilson, an executive at the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, which represents auto suppliers. In other words, Canada is taking NAFTA renegotiation very seriously. They have made such great deals - both of the countries, but in particular Mexico.
Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray sought to brush off Trump's threat, saying the comments would not scare Mexico in the negotiations.
"It was, at a minimum, bad timing", said Holleyman, Obama's deputy US Trade Representative.
The Trade Campaigner for the Council, Sujata Dey points out other concerns, "It is very unsafe that the Liberal government is going to put CETA procurement provisions in NAFTA, which will get rid of buy local policies". "I personally don't think you can make a deal without a".
Their agenda covered a wide range of existing and new NAFTA chapters, including: updating the Rules of Origin, adding and amending trade remedies provisions, addressing transparency, combatting corruption, increasing intellectual property protections, and addressing issues facing financial services and investment. "We feel that NAFTA has fundamentally failed many, many Americans and needs major improvement". But former Department of Agriculture trade advisor in the Bill Clinton Administration, Paul Drazek has this...
"We should assure that there is equal access and reciprocity in government procurement and agriculture", he noted.
"A president threatening to dismantle the gateway for many US manufacturers to the rest of the globe is not a path worth going down", he said.
"Navistar recently began to export used heavy-duty trucks to Mexico and we intend to increase quantities in the years ahead", Jim Spangler, vice president of corporate affairs for Navistar, said in a letter to the USA trade representative. Top officials in both Mexico and Canada dismissed Trump's threat as a negotiating tactic.
A Canadian official earlier said the government had been bracing for moments of turbulence.
Monarch's Jones predicted that "sanity will prevail" and that the USA will remain in NAFTA.
Negotiators are expected to head to Mexico City for the second round of talks from September 1 to 5, and to Canada for their third round in late September (reportedly September 23-27).
Marissa Gamache, a special writer for TT, contributed to this article.