Potentially contentious free trade talks underway

NAFTA Round One: Gordon Johnson Weighs In On Free Trade's Effects On Steel, Manufacturing

NAFTA Round One: Gordon Johnson Weighs In On Free Trade's Effects On Steel, Manufacturing

However, Reuters says Mexico and Canada dismissed Trump's threat, describing it as a negotiating tactic created to gain an advantage during the negotiation effort.Trump said he believes the USA will "end up probably terminating NAFTA at some point".

"There are opportunities we have to improve and update the North American Free Trade Agreement and we're negotiating in good faith and working hard to do just that, but we're going to stay focused on the hard work we have ahead of us at the negotiating table and that's how we've approached this from the very beginning and I don't see anything changing in that".

In a shared statement issued at the end of the five days negotiations in Washington, the top trade officials from the three countries said Mexico would host the next round of talks from September 1 to 5.

A second round of talks is set for Sept. 1-5 in Mexico, followed by meetings in Canada in late September and back to the United States in October.

Young said he didn't think making threats to withdraw as a negotiating tactic is a good idea. One well-connected Washington lobbyist at last week's talks said he was convinced the threat was coming: "Almost 100%".

"All Texas leaders must understand that Texas benefits greatly from trade with Mexico", he said. In an interview several weeks ago, Robert Holleyman said it was a serious tactical error when Trump made the threat in April.

Postcards
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The Trump administration favors stricter rules on how much NAFTA content auto parts need to have to qualify for duty-free treatment - a desire the auto workers' union embraces and the vehicle industry dislikes.

"You do that at the 11th hour in the negotiation - not at the throat-clearing stage ..."

That episode in April underscored the complexity of ending NAFTA. And he said U.S. courts would ultimately conclude that the president can't rip up NAFTA without congressional support. It's credited with fostering a rapid rise in commerce and closer diplomatic ties among the three countries, but the agreement has long fueled heated criticism in the US because it led some American-based manufacturers to move operations south of the border to capitalize on lower-wage Mexican labour.

The first round of talks between Canada, the US and Mexico concluded on Sunday in USA capital Washington, with a commitment from all three sides to hold the talks at an accelerated pace.

"If the president were to rip up NAFTA, and then sort of jack tariffs way up, I think somebody would be able to come in and say... Congress has not repealed that legislation, and they've given no indication they intend to".

The Trade Campaigner for the Council, Sujata Dey points out other concerns, "It is very risky that the Liberal government is going to put CETA procurement provisions in NAFTA, which will get rid of buy local policies".