And economists say there is little that governments can do to make an impact on the deficit in any case.
Among the priorities, Lighthizer said the administration would seek to eliminate a trade dispute mechanism that has largely prohibited the USA from pursuing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases against Canadian and Mexican firms.
"It is important that we do engage with people so that they can understand the benefits of NAFTA and the benefits of the Canada-U.S. economic relationship", said Adam Austen, spokesman for Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.
The US has signalled wildly conflicting approaches.
Todd Tucker, a trade expert and fellow at the left-leaning Roosevelt Institute, has gone as far as to call the new NAFTA objectives "TPP with fewer countries". The summary calls for bringing labor standards into the main agreement - rather than in a side one - and requiring Mexico and Canada to "adopt and maintain" internationally recognized labor standards and have laws "governing acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work" and safety. "The Trump trade team recognizes that they're under a lot of constraints".
"A quarter of the country gets their produce coming in from Nogales", Grijalva said.
Under Chapter 19, which Canada insisted be in NAFTA, binational panels hear complaints about illegal subsidies and dumping and then issue binding decisions.
"I don't see this as a depressing time".
It helps that the Liberal government's main opposition, the Conservatives, have committed to presenting a united, non-partisan, Canadian front on NAFTA and have been echoing numerous same arguments in favour of free trade. The administration began three months of domestic consultations in May under the so-called fast-track process that enables the government to seek a simple yes-or-no vote from Congress on new trade deals.
Pat Roberts, Republican senator from Kansas, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, said he used an unexpected invitation for a private White House meeting with Trump to plug in agriculture's cause in NAFTA and beyond.
It was Orr's job to act as a liaison to Congress as the deputy assistant USA trade czar.
"I am disappointed that the latest version of the administration's goals for a NAFTA replacement is not more specific". That desire for a fast negotiation could be hindered by the fact that the United States trade czar's office still has numerous positions unfilled.
It's a tact he believes will ultimately play out in Canada's favour. Meaning a deal can be probably hatched by December... "The federal government needs to make the most of this opportunity, a better future depends on it" said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
Trump blames the North American Free Trade Agreement - the "worst trade deal ever" in his words - for millions of lost manufacturing jobs and promises to tilt it in America's favor.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. Atop their list: improving worker rights in Mexico, since binding labor rules were never part of the NAFTA core text.
A spokeswoman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative didn't immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Drake's remarks.