Top Obama trade official: Trump must protect free flow of goods in NAFTA talks

A former top Obama administration trade negotiator is urging the Trump administration to protect the free flow of goods as it works to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

"There are lots of reasons to update NAFTA, but we need to make sure we protect the underlying sort of free movement of goods while we do that," former Deputy Under Secretary of Agriculture Darci Vetter told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton on "Rising."

Her comments come as U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerMcConnell urges GOP senators to call Trump about tariffs Companies brace for trade war MORE and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland resume talks this week in an effort to hammer out a NAFTA deal.

The two countries are negotiating over several issues, including U.S. access to Canadian dairy, cultural exemptions and a dispute resolution mechanism in Chapter 19 of NAFTA that allows Canada to push back on U.S. tariffs.

Vetter noted the vast technological changes that have taken place since NAFTA was signed in 1993 during the Clinton administration, arguing the changes are a reason to update the agreement.

"We didn't really have an internet when we negotiated NAFTA. We now do billions and billions of dollars in business on e-commerce," she said, calling for "having good rules about data protection and flow of data, and being able to provide more services in each other's markets."

The U.S., Canada and Mexico are aiming to sign an agreement by the end of November.

Vetter's interview took place as part of Hill.TV's America Energized series, presented by the American Petroleum Institute.

— Julia Manchester