Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Top Mexican trade official to hold NAFTA talks on Wednesday

White House to Announce Breakthrough in NAFTA Negotiations with Mexico Mexican trade official says NAFTA deal with US may be hours away | TheHill
Orlando Vargas | 25 August, 2018, 05:12

"We hope that we'll have a solution in the next couple of hours or next couple of days", Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo. One Mexican official told Reuters that he expected bilateral talks to be resolved by early next week.

Seade's comments seemed to indicate otherwise.

But there is no broader agreement on reshaping NAFTA.

Politico said government officials plan to announce the two sides have made progress and Trump is expected to attend Thursday's event.

But Canadian officials said Wednesday they are not anxious about the most recent developments.

Other key unresolved issues include the phase-in time for the new automotive rules to take effect and whether the United States demand for a "sunset" clause that forces a renegotiation every five years is adopted, making long-term investment decisions more hard, the report said.

"Canada is looking forward to join the negotiations and a swift conclusion to negotiations", she told reporters in Nanaimo, B.C.

Automotive experts have said that some foreign brand automakers with smaller North American manufacturing footprints and fewer U.S. research and development staff may have difficulty meeting the more stringent content requirements for years.

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Jesus Seade, chief negotiator for Mexico's president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Canada, Mexico, and the United States have all publicly insisted that there is no rift and the Mexico-U.S. talks leave out Canadian negotiators simply because the matters under discussion chiefly concern those two countries.

"We share the administration's overall goals of strengthening U.S. auto manufacturing and creating jobs and given the importance of NAFTA to United States industry we urge the negotiators to quickly complete the negotiations", added Blunt, whose group represents General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

News came late Tuesday that bilateral talks on NAFTA between the US and Mexico are proceeding well and the two countries are getting close to a consensus on how to forge a new NAFTA deal - even though key hurdles remain and Canadian government officials have not been apprised of the latest developments.

Aside from vehicles, the three sides have yet to agree on future dispute resolution mechanisms, while Mexico and Canada also oppose a United States demand to introduce a "sunset clause" that would force a renegotiation of Nafta every five years.

Canada calls that idea a non-starter, believing it would breed uncertainty and stymie investment. It accounts for almost half of US vehicle production. "We're exploring new options".

Some observers believe Ottawa has been sidelined from the NAFTA negotiations by the Trump administration and could find itself forced into deciding whether to accept a less-appetizing deal hashed out between the US and Mexico. The American Automotive Policy Council (AAPC), which represents the "Big Three" manufacturers in Detroit (i.e. Ford, GM and Chrysler), said it was "encouraged" by the direction of the discussions, adding that it shared Trump's "overall goals of strengthening USA auto manufacturing and creating jobs". "But it doesn't have to be". Negotiators had hoped to seal up an agreement by the end of the week.

Canada has been given no notice of any deal being reached and considers several issues still outstanding, two Canadian government officials told CBC News Tuesday evening.

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