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NAFTA still in the works
NAFTA still in the works

While Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are making progress on the agreement, negotiations are far from over

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer

The three members of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are still working out the details of the modernized pact.

“We’re making good progress on NAFTA … having said that, we’re not there yet,” Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister said on Wednesday, according to a Reuters article yesterday. 

Today, Freeland is attending a meeting in Washington with Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative. He wants a resolution to the negotiations before Mexico’s presidential election on July 1.

By mid-April, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. could announce an outline of a settlement for the auto sector. Other disputed matters could be dealt with later, the article said.

One of the biggest issues is a U.S. request that the North American components of vehicles made in NAFTA nations increase from 62.5 per cent to 85 per cent, the article said.

However, following some leeway from American negotiators, the three nations are looking at alternatives.

To date, the participating nations have settled six of the nearly 30 chapters, but remaining topics are far from resolved, such as dispute resolution and government procurement, the article said.

NAFTA negotiators have been meeting for weeks to try and overcome their differences, said Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico’s economy minister.

Negotiators are set to convene in Washington next week but, as of yet, an eighth round of talks is not scheduled. A regional summit of leaders in Peru, beginning April 13, presents another opportunity to make further advancements with the agreement.

President Donald Trump has threatened to walk away from NAFTA if the deal cannot be negotiated to his liking, the article said.