Business leaders say no NAFTA better than bad deal

13 October, 2017, 00:10 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • USA Trump und Trudeau im Weißen Haus | NAFTA

His comments came after Trump had previewed "a tough negotiation" over NAFTA - a quarter-century-year-old trade pact that also includes Mexico. This week the influential US Chamber of Commerce warned it was time to "ring alarm bells" over the NAFTA talks. "Trade agreements provide an opportunity to promote these principles", Higgins said.

The figure is dwarfed by their trade with the United States: more than $480 billion previous year for Mexico and more than $540 billion for Canada. Those include U.S. demands to adjust the rules of origin, which would increase the percentage of the content of vehicle parts and other materials that would come from NAFTA countries in order for a good to qualify as duty free - a specific concern for the North American auto industry.

"We share a series of values with Canada: high wages, rigorous environmental standards, individual freedoms, and a commitment to shared prosperity".

As the trade talks began Wednesday, Trump, seated in the Oval Office beside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, said it was "possible" that the United States would drop out of NAFTA. Trudeau said he recognized that there were proposals in the deal that the U.S. and Canada disagreed on, but insisted that the talks had begun on Wednesday "in good faith".

The negotiations are being held at the demand of Trump, who this week repeated his threat to pull the US out of the 23-year-old accord.

The North American Free Trade Agreement, long disparaged by President Donald Trump as bad for the United States, was edging closer toward collapse as negotiators gathered for a fourth round of contentious talks here this week. Mexico could leave NAFTA and have the strength to move on without any serious long-term structural damage to the economy, he said.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue, speaking in Mexico City on Tuesday, pledged to fight "like hell" to defend Nafta if Trump tries to pull out.

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Rep. Richard Neal of MA, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said he hopes NAFTA will expand Canadian market access for USA cultural industries and "will be an opportunity to update intellectual property rules".

The proposals call for North American content, overall, to rise to 85 percent from the current 62.5 percent.

The hard issue of rules of origin will be addressed mostly at the end of the current talks, according to a schedule obtained by Reuters.

Meanwhile, a veteran Mexican diplomat has expressed fears about the possibility that NAFTA could be ditched in favour of bilateral agreements, an issue raised by Trump as well.

"The comedy show is unfolding in Washington, there's no question about it", he said.

"There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal", he said in a speech delivered in Mexico.

"These will be met with widespread opposition from Canada and Mexico". US negotiators have countered with a proposal that would effectively grant the other countries less access, people familiar with the talks say.

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