NAFTA Talks Bog Down as Sides Take Recess

NAFTA Talks Bog Down as Sides Take Recess

Wrapping up the fourth round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the US proposed a dismantling of Canada's dairy supply management system.

Trade reps from Canada and Mexico rejected outright a number of hard-line protectionist policies proposed by USA negotiators, proposals which Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland described diplomatically today as "unconventional".

Lighthizer also said he was "surprised and disappointed by the resistance to change" from Canada and Mexico regarding reducing USA trade deficits, a top priority for the Trump administration.

The United States has proposed new rules of origin for autos, which include a 50 percent USA domestic content requirement and raising the NAFTA regional value content from the current 62.5 percent to 85 percent, according to local media.

"So while we are working hard to pass pro-growth tax reform, which will allow American families to keep more of what they earn and improve their standard of living, we're also looking to modernize these existing trade agreements to add to the growth of our economy and jobs right here in the United States". Trump has blamed what he called poorly negotiated agreements for the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs that hurt the US economy.

"It is not clear how the (U.S.) administration would expect to reduce the trade deficit through the renegotiation". He said NAFTA's dispute resolution mechanism and some other provisions could use some updating.


Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared before the House of Representatives Ways and Means committee, which oversees trade negotiations.

However, trade experts argued that the costs of breaking up the trilateral trade agreement would be very high for all three economies, as North American integration has been going well for over 20 years.

USA industry has reacted harshly to the trade talks.

The report also suggests the USA could inflict damage in broader areas of three-way co-operation, including on security co-operation.

With this in mind, Canada, Mexico, and the United States intend to allow for a longer intersessional period before the next negotiating round begins, so that all proposals can be assessed. "Any disruption to the economic relationship could have adverse effects on investment, employment, productivity and North American competitiveness", the report states.

"We must understand that we all have limits despite over current differences".

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