NAFTA Talks Extend Into 2018 Amid Deadlock

Oct 18, 2017, 00:44
NAFTA Talks Extend Into 2018 Amid Deadlock

The three countries wanted to renegotiate the deal before the end of the year.

At the same press conference after a fourth round of talks, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said some of the Nafta proposals would have run counter to World Trade Organization rules.

"Frankly, I am surprised and disappointed by the resistance to change by our negotiating partners on both fronts", Lighthizer said.

This year's NAFTA re-negotiations stem from U.S. President Donald Trump's insistence that the agreement be remodeled lest the U.S. leave the deal entirely.

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The North American Free Trade talks (NAFTA) are going badly and it increasingly looks like the USA side is trying to sabotage them on orders of the protectionist president Donald Trump. The argument is that the US has many of its own support programs for farmers.

Canadian and Mexican officials rejected some USA proposals introduced during the latest round, according to one government source from each country.

The fifth round of talks is scheduled for November 17-21 in Mexico City with discussions now expected to stretch into 2018, extending beyond the aim for year's end. Both counties also oppose US proposals designed to create jobs for American auto manufacturers by putting more stringent limits on how much of a vehicle can be made outside of North America to qualify for immunity to import taxes in the three NAFTA countries.

The U.S. proposed raising that threshold to 85%, according to the Canadian government source. Lighthizer insisted that 50 percent of all vehicle parts originate from the United States and 85 percent within North America.

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Among the most contentious, he and other analysts said, is a proposal that would allow NAFTA to expire after five years unless all three countries agree to renew it.

"If we do that it's a whole new ballgame going forward and I think there are ways to do that if we have something balanced", he said.

Lighthizer said he has see no sign that Mexico and Canada are ready to make the major changes needed to the update pact.

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