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Mexico and Canada slam U.S. as NAFTA talks are pushed into 2018

Mexico and Canada slam U.S. as NAFTA talks are pushed into 2018”

U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerMORE said Tuesday that the Trump administration isn't actively pursuing a withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The first key disagreement is over "rules of origin".

The verbal blows concluded Round 4 of talks to renegotiate NAFTA. Currently, vehicles that are manufactured with at least 62.5% of contents from any combination of the three countries can be shipped from one NAFTA nation to another without paying duties.

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.

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Those questioning the White House's approach to the trade talks, including business and agriculture groups, have said leaving NAFTA would cause serious damage to the US economy because the three countries are now so integrated.

Lighthizer said he had hoped to have cleared chapters on digital trade and telecommunications among others but talks came to a near halt after the USA introduced several contentious provisions, including a sunset clause and a rules-of-origin proposal.

Discussions remained tense as the USA government insists on several big changes to the 23-year-old deal that could hurt Canada and Mexico. Since it was implemented, Mexico's unemployment has risen and the deal put about two million small-scale Mexican farmers out of business, forcing many of them to migrate to the United States looking for work.

He argued that Mexican and Canadian trade negotiators are refusing to accept provisions they have agreed to in the past, including portions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

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"This is why Canada is so appreciative of Mexico's support for a gender chapter in the modernization of NAFTA. this is a progressive step forward that we can't afford not to take".

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto traveled to China last month in part to discuss trade, and met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in June about significantly broadening an existing trade agreement with the European Union. Instead of entering the US duty free, Mexican imports would be subject to tax rates set by the World Trade Organization.

"The importance of NAFTA [to Mexico] is that it's been an anchor of stability", said Rubio, who is based at Mexico's Center for Research for Development, an independent think tank, and Washington's Wilson Center.

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