NAFTA Talks Facing Possible Turning Point

Dan Trade

nafta talksNAFTA talks are facing a possible turning point this month that will yield either a breakthrough or even the suspension of talks. Mexico’s Congress wraps up its regular session on April 30th. The country is widely expected to elect a new anti-NAFTA president on July 1st, and the U.S. holds key midterm congressional elections in November.

Against that backdrop, the eighth round of NAFTA talks is planned to start here, next week. U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer told the Senate Finance Committee last month.

Lighthizer on NAFTA-1

There was new optimism recently, when U.S. negotiators dropped a demand that all vehicles bound for the U.S. market from Canada and Mexico contain at least 50-percent U.S.-made parts. But other differences remain, including a U.S. proposal to sunset NAFTA.

Lighthizer on NAFTA-2

The U.S. side is trying to do that in current talks, including on Mexican produce and Canada’s restrictive dairy pricing system and barriers to poultry, though talks have been successful on plant and animal sanitary standards.

Lighthizer on NAFTA-3

The U.S. has set a May 1st deadline for NAFTA talks, after which the White House could renew the threat of steel tariffs against Canada and Mexico, or at least suspend talks, pushing negotiations into next year.

(From the National Association of Farm Broadcasters)