U.S., Mexico Agree to Weaken Rights to Dispute Trade Practices

28 August, 2018, 00:35 | Author: Darnell Patrick
  • Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo takes a break from talks in Washington with US Trade Representative Robert Lightizer on updating NAFTA

From the moment NAFTA renegotiations started previous year, US officials pushed for something called a "sunset clause" which is effectively a way for them to push the escape button and force a new deal, if the terms of trade didn't improve to their liking.

He announced the progress from the Oval Office, with Mexican president Pena Nieto joining in on speakerphone.

The United States has reached a trade deal with Mexico on Monday while Canada remains on the sidelines of the North American trade talks. He noted, for example, that Trump said nothing Monday about dropping Trump's tariffs on Mexican or Canadian steel - tariffs that were imposed in part to pressure those countries to reach an agreement on NAFTA.

The analysis preceded the announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday that a deal with Mexico has been reached, opening the door for Canada to rejoin negotiations that have dragged on for more than a year.

Trump said he was open to including Canada - "if they'd like to negotiate fairly".

Earlier in the day, a spokesperson for Freeland said: "Canada is encouraged by the continued optimism shown by our negotiating partners".

The president says he will be calling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The name had a "bad connotation", Trump said.

The White House is also expected to formally notify Congress by the end of this week of its intention to sign a new trade agreement within 90 days. When combined with the fact that we pay for most of their defense through NATO, Europe has benefited greatly from past USA administrations' willingness to let Europe leach off of American workers and taxpayers. A breakthrough between the US and Canada on wages would be a big development, but Canada would still have to agree on that and all other issues.


Talks to overhaul the agreement began a year ago and have proven contentious.

And they have not come to an agreement over the "sunset clause" the U.S.is demanding, which would automatically terminate NAFTA in five years if the three countries did not all endorse the deal again at that time.

Christian Whiton was a senior advisor in the Donald Trump and George W. Bush administrations.

It's unclear yet if Canada will be a part of any revised agreement.

Negotiators have been shuttling back and forth between the three countries for months to try to iron out the bilateral stumbling blocks, including rules for the auto market, before the end of August.

That is, if Canada's re-entry into the talks and political posturing do not add new roadblocks to the negotiations.

Trump indicated he would take a tough line with Ottawa on autos and dairy tariffs, long a source of tension between the neighboring countries. Canada will now need to rejoin talks - the US hadn't invited them for weeks - and sign off on the deal, as well as resolve its own irritants.

The Mexico-U.S. discussions focused on crafting new rules for the automotive industry, which Trump has put at the heart of his drive to rework the pact he has repeatedly described as a "disaster" for American workers.

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