Canada, Mexico urge quick NAFTA talks to end uncertainty

07/20/2017 Reuters

NAFTA_logoWASHINGTON/OTTAWA (Reuters) – Top Canadian and Mexican diplomats expressed optimism on Thursday that a NAFTA deal could be reached early next year and cautioned that widespread uncertainty over the future of the three-way trade agreement had slowed business investment.

Mexican sources say the plan is to hold seven rounds of talks at three-week intervals, a schedule that trade experts warned was aggressive and not easily attainable.

Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, Geronimo Gutierrez, said his country wanted to get the negotiations over before a presidential election campaign ramps up next year.

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WTO better for solving U.S. trade spats than NAFTA tool: Mexico minister

07/20/2017 Reuters

Idelfonso-GuajardoMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s economy minister said on Thursday the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been more effective in resolving U.S. trade disputes than the so-called Chapter 19 mechanism, which the United States hopes to ditch as part of NAFTA talks.

The United States on Monday released its goals for the talks, which aim to update the North American Free Trade Agreement that came into force in 1994.

These included a desire to ditch the Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism that has hindered the United States from pursuing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases against Mexican and Canadian firms. Canada has subsequently said it believes the mechanism must be kept as part of the NAFTA update.

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U.S. announces start of NAFTA talks in Washington on Aug. 16

07/19/2017 Reuters

NAFTA_logoWASHINGTON (Reuters) – The first round of talks between the United State, Mexico and Canada on revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement will take place in Washington from Aug. 16-20, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday.

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Canada, Mexico to discuss how to handle NAFTA talks: sources

07/18/2017 Reuters

NAFTA_logoOTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian and Mexican officials will meet on Wednesday to discuss how to handle negotiations on NAFTA, two well-placed sources said on Tuesday, as a top Canadian diplomat hinted at a potential clash with Washington.

The working-level talks are scheduled to take place in Ottawa, said the sources, who asked to remain anonymous given the sensitivity of the situation.

“The two sides will be looking for areas where they can work together,” said one of the sources.

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Mexico minister expresses concern over U.S. talk of deficits in NAFTA goals

07/18/2017 Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s economy minister Idelfonso-Guajardo said on Tuesday he was concerned that the United States was still insisting on reducing trade deficits in the objectives it set out for the renegotiation of the NAFTA trade deal on Monday.

Speaking on Mexican television by phone from Japan, Guajardo likened what he called the U.S. “insistence” on cutting its trade deficits with its NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada to a somewhat “mercantilist” vision of international trade.

“What I have said insistently in my conversations with my colleagues is that we’re delighted to review trade balances provided that we focus on how to improve them by expanding commerce, not by reducing it,” Guajardo said.

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Mexico welcomes U.S. NAFTA objectives, eyes stronger North America

July 17, 2017 Reuters

NAFTA_logoMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s government on Monday said it would work to strengthen the North American economy after the United States published its objectives for the renegotiation of the NAFTA trade deal, which one Mexican official described as “not as bad” as feared.

In a statement, the Mexican economy ministry said it expected talks between the United States, Mexico and Canada on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to be able to get under way from Aug. 16.

For now, Mexico would continue with domestic consultations on the revamp of the accord until early August, it added.

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Can Mexico overcome Donald Trump’s obsession with trade deficits?

7/17/2017 Financial Times

sea tradeAs Mexico braces for the US to put its Nafta negotiating objectives in writing, potentially as soon as today, Washington’s letter last week to South Korea makes ominous reading.

“President Trump continues to keep his promises to lower our trade deficit,” said US trade representative Robert Lighthizer. If the administration pursues that goal above all others in negotiations to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement that could start in mid-August, Mexico fears the talks will go nowhere fast.

The peril of pursuing such a policy was thrown into sharp focus — pardon the pun — last month. US automaker Ford, which in January ditched a planned $1.6bn plant in Mexico under pressure from Donald Trump, abruptly announced it was shifting production of its Ford Focus to China.

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