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Trudeau says he's ready for the end of NAFTA if it comes

12 October 2017, 09:50 | Devin Moran

STEPHEN CROWLEY NYT

STEPHEN CROWLEY  NYT

Mexico appears to be preparing for the worst as the fourth round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement open in Washington DC.

"I continue to believe in NAFTA; I continue to believe that as a continent working together in complementary ways is better for our citizens and better for economic growth, and allows us to compete on a stronger footing with the global economy", Trudeau said.

"He views it as a violation of US sovereignty", she added.

US President Donald Trump has said if talks to reform North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) fail, he could envisage a US-Canada trade pact, excluding Mexico. "NAFTA is a disaster as a deal", Trump told the magazine.

President Donald Trump's trade negotiators entered the latest round of NAFTA talks Wednesday under growing pressure inside their own country to step back from a confrontational stance that's left the US isolated at the negotiating table.

"We'll see what happens", Trump told reporters in the Oval Office after being asked whether NAFTA was dead.

For last one and a half years, US President Trump criticised the agreement and also hinted to take some serious steps being in the administration or at least send some ultimatums.

Replying to a question, Trump said he would consider a trade pact with Canada minus Mexico, adding that both the USA and Canada wanted to protect their workers.

On automotive rules of origin, NAFTA negotiators face tough new US demands to increase regional vehicle content to 85 percent from 62.5 percent, with 50 percent required from the United States, according to people briefed on the plan.

Raising the automotive content thresholds and forcing automakers to verify the North American origin of more electronics and other parts now sourced from Asia would cause some parts manufacturers to forego NAFTA benefits, said Ann Wilson, the association's head of government affairs.




"There's a path to be optimistic", he said.

Trump's commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, said it's not new that Trump would consider bilateral agreements.

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

"I think we have a chance to do something very creative that's good for Canada, Mexico and the United States".

Trump wants it to be 85 percent, including 50 percent from the U.S. The Chamber of Commerce called that a "poison pill" in the NAFTA talks.

The negotiators are under pressure to reach a deal this year — before presidential elections in Mexico and midterm elections in the United States raise the political temperature in 2018.

If the deal falls apart, the United States, Canada and Mexico would go back to a system of low tariffs on imports. But Mexico strongly opposes a US -specific content requirement, which would limit the growth of its own auto industry.

An auto-parts industry executive warned Wednesday that tightening the rules of origin for cars will add complexity and costs.

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.



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