NAFTA Round 5 inches forward, but progress is seen nonetheless

11/21/2017 Politico

NAFTA_logoMEXICO CITY — Trade officials from Canada, Mexico and the United States wrapped up a fifth round of talks to renegotiate NAFTA on Tuesday hinting that they might be able to pull off a new deal — if their counterparts begin to show more willingness to engage.

With the political spotlight turned away from them, negotiators made progress over the past week on a broad range of chapters and began hinting at compromise on others, sending a strong signal that the trade agreement is no longer on the brink of collapse. Although the three countries remain at an impasse on a number of flashpoint issues, the goal of wrapping up by March “is not out of the question,” one senior U.S. official said Tuesday.

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Mexico’s presidential front-runner vows stable economy; aide urges NAFTA delay

11/20/2017 UK Reuters 

Mexican politician Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,  leader of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) gestures as he addresses the audience during a meeting at Plaza Zaragoza in Monterrey, Mexico
Credit: REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s leftist presidential hopeful Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador vowed on Monday to boost infrastructure spending but guard economic stability, while his team reiterated that ongoing NAFTA talks should be put off until after next year’s election.

Lopez Obrador, the front-runner in most polls ahead of the July vote, unveiled a platform that envisioned an austere government to root out corruption and redirect spending to public works and social programs without new taxes or raising the debt-to-GDP ratio.

He rebutted claims he would pursue Venezuela-style socialist policies if elected.

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Human rights official, son killed in northern Mexico

11/21/2017 Washington Post

mexican flagMEXICO CITY — Gunmen in Mexico have killed a human rights official and his son in the northern state of Baja California Sur in a dramatic attack that was condemned by federal officials Tuesday.

In a news conference, state officials said Silvestre de la Toba Camacho and his family were driving in an SUV in a busy part of the state capital of La Paz around 7 p.m. Monday when gunmen in another vehicle opened fire.

De la Toba Camacho, 47, and his son Fernando de la Toba Lucero, 20, died at the scene. De la Toba Camacho’s wife and 17-year-old daughter were wounded and taken to a nearby hospital.

Mexico’s Interior Ministry condemned the attack Tuesday and called on state officials to find those responsible.

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Mexican Counteroffer Marks Tit-for-Tat Turn in Nafta Talks

11/21/2017 Bloomberg

TLC_mapMexico is proposing to limit access to government contracts for U.S. firms in a sign that America’s Nafta partners are willing to strike back against what they see as hardline proposals by the Trump administration.

Mexican negotiators are seeking to cap the value of procurement-tenders awarded to American companies to the same amount that Mexican firms get in the U.S. Since American firms do more procurement business in Mexico than vice versa, it would mean less business for U.S. companies, said a person familiar with discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Canada, Mexico lock horns on US auto demands as fifth round of trade talks ends

11/21/2017 CNBC

automobileNegotiators from the United States, Mexico, and Canada square off on Tuesday for the last time in the fifth round of talks to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with stalemate brewing on a contentious proposal to ramp up regional content for autos.

Officials and lobbyists say Mexico and Canada will firmly push back against the U.S. demand to raise the minimum threshold for NAFTA autos to 85 percent from 62.5 percent, as well as insist that fully half the content is from the United States.

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Nafta Round Closes With Talks Bogged Down by Conflict

11/21/2017 New York Times

Eric Gay/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — United States officials have tried in recent weeks to cool tensions over the North American Free Trade Agreement by extending the timetable for renegotiating the pact and asking top officials to sit out the current round of talks in Mexico City.

But as the fifth round of talks concluded in the Mexican capital on Tuesday, tensions were still simmering, with Canada and Mexico telling the United States that it would make little headway with its current approach and Mexico firing its first warning shot with a tough counterproposal.

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Trump’s Hopes for Quick Nafta Deal Are Dimming as Talks Slow

11/21/2017 Bloomberg

Robert Lighthizer
Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

After three months of talks, the U.S., Canada and Mexico remain miles apart on a deal to update the region’s flagship trade pact.

The Nafta round ended Tuesday in Mexico City with negotiators failing to finalize new agreements on even minor sections of the pact. In some of his bluntest remarks since the talks began, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Canada and Mexico aren’t “seriously” engaging on some key areas to overhaul Nafta. He made clear the U.S. won’t accept a deal that doesn’t shift trade flows in the U.S.’s favor.

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