Canada, Mexico try more flexibility as key NAFTA round opens

Canada, Mexico try more flexibility as key NAFTA round opens
  • Clock-gray 22:43
  • calendar-gray 17 November 2017

A key round of talks to update the NAFTA trade pact formally opened on Friday with Canada and Mexico seeking to show more flexibility about addressing hard line U.S. demands that they had previously dismissed as unworkable, APA reports quoting Reuters.


U.S. President Donald Trump, who says the North American Free Trade Agreement is a “disaster,” has frequently threatened to ditch the pact unless big changes are made.


There is relatively little time left to thrash out a deal under the current schedule. Negotiators met in Mexico City for the fifth of seven planned rounds that are due to wrap up by the end of March to avoid affecting Mexico’s presidential election.


“We’re just getting started. There’s a long ways to go. It’s a challenging negotiation,” chief Canadian negotiator Steve Verheul told reporters.


Canadian and Mexican officials initially indicated they would simply not discuss contentious U.S. proposals such as a five-year sunset clause, and boosting the North American content of autos to 85 percent from the current 62.5 percent.


The focus in Mexico City would be on making arguments to the U.S. side as to why their proposals as written would not work, a Canadian government source said.


Canada, the source added, was happy to discuss so-called rules of origin governing auto content but insisted the 85 percent figure was impossible.

Ceyhun Aliyev

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