Lighthizer Slams Canada and Mexico for Refusing to Accept NAFTA Reforms

Lucy Bush
October 18, 2017

US opposition to NAFTA's dispute resolution mechanisms, plans to restrict outside access to government contracts and attacks on Canadian dairy and softwood lumber producers have further stoked the grim mood among trade officials.

The three countries wanted to renegotiate the deal before the end of the year.

Canadian and Mexican officials rejected some USA proposals introduced during the latest round, according to one government source from each country.

"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.

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The Trudeau government promised to keep the management of the offer, arguing that the United States kept to their side several of the programs of support to their own farmers.

"We must ensure that decisions we make today do not come back to haunt us tomorrow", Mexico Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo added, alluding to the USA proposals to rework the free trade pact. TPP is the trade pact that President Donald Trump rejected on his first day of office.

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. They have also put forward a clause, called "twilight" that could put an end to the NAFTA by five years.

He added that he believed there was a way of finding creative solutions that would allow North America to expand trade, benefiting all three countries.

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The U.S. proposal would also require that cars sold into the United States be 50 percent manufactured here in order to qualify for special NAFTA status.

Those questioning the White House's approach to the trade talks, including business and agriculture groups, have said leaving NAFTA would cause serious damage to the US economy because the three countries are now so integrated.

"We couldn't accept it", the Mexican government source said Tuesday.

Trump has threatened to terminate the trade agreement if Canada and Mexico do not agree to his demands. Right now, this right is reserved for Mexico and Canada.

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