NAFTA Renegotiation Expected to Get More Difficult Moving Forward

CANADA - The Vice-President of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute expects negotiations aimed at updating NAFTA to get more difficult when they move into round four next week in Washington, Bruce Cochrane reports.
calendar icon 4 October 2017
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Round three of discussions aimed at modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement concluded last week in Ottawa.

Colin Robertson, the Vice-President and a Fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, observes, while progress has been reported on some of the less contentious issues, the going can be expected to get more difficult in the next round.

Colin Robertson-Canadian Global Affairs Institute

As the ministers have reported, the negotiations have made progress on what we refer to as the low hanging fruit.

For example the chapter on small and medium size enterprises is just about done.

The chapters on transparency and anti-corruption and competition are likely to conclude in the coming weeks.

Many of these chapters in what will likely be probably about a 30 chapter agreement will bear a lot of similarity to those that we negotiated with the Mexico and United States as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership involving 12 countries but, on his election, President Trump pulled America out of that agreement and there is now negotiations by the remaining 11 to see if they can't pull the agreement together.

But the agreement that had been negotiated, a lot of that which had been negotiated which involved Canada, the US and Mexico and indeed many of the same negotiators, they used that as a basis for discussions on the renegotiation of the NAFTA.

Mr Robertson says three big issues appear to be emerging as potential stumbling blocks, including calls by the US to eliminate two chapters which relate to dispute settlement, the US desire to change rules of origin to increase US content in such products as automobiles and calls by the American to introduce a sunset clause which would limit the agreement to five years.

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