USA trade representative says he's 'surprised' as Nafta talks pushed into 2018

Posted October 18, 2017

Other thorny issues that US officials also pushed across the table in the fourth round included a USA proposal to weaken Canada's and Mexico's access to USA government procurement contracts and to eliminate a NAFTA chapter that has allowed Mexico and Canada to contest US anti-dumping and government-subsidy tariff decisions by turning to a special panel of judges. "If we end up not having an agreement, my guess is all three countries would do just fine".

"We have seen proposals that would turn back the clock on 23 years predictability, openness and collaboration", Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in Washington.

"I'm surprised and disappointed by the resistance to change from our negotiating partners", Lighthizer said with Guajardo to his left and Freeland to his right. TPP is the trade pact that President Donald Trump rejected on his first day of office. It's possible that his administration is trying to sabotage the agreement to justify a withdrawal, said Paul Ashworth, the chief USA economist at Capital Economics.

The sources say Canadian negotiators are calling the demand "a non-starter".

Canadian and Mexican officials are loosely allied with USA industry, farm and services lobbying groups who are opposed to the Trump proposals and stepping up their efforts to persuade administration officials to ease them.

Lavrov says Tehran abides by all commitments on Iran nuclear deal
Second, Trump could call for greater non-nuclear sanctions on Iran as it seeks to punish the regime without violating the deal. The agreement contains specific restrictions on Iran's nuclear program that will expire after predetermined periods of time.

The fifth round of talks is scheduled for November 17-21 in Mexico City with discussions now expected to stretch into 2018, extending beyond the aim for year's end.

The Trump administration has proposed raising the threshold to 85 percent from the current 62 percent.

Mexico also opposed the five-year provision, known as a sunset clause, the Mexican source said.

"There is no one trade agreement in the world that has country-specific content". Canada and Mexico won't stand for it.

Mexican economist and financial analyst Luis Rubio said the greatest danger to Mexico if NAFTA is scrapped is loss of confidence in the nation as a place for investment.