Talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are at a “much better point,” according to trade officials from Mexico.
Speaking at the conclusion of the latest round of talks held in Canada, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said: “we finally began to discuss the core issues.”
All three sides agreed to language governing anti-corruption during the latest round, while making progress on customs and food sanitation issues. However, two of the biggest issues, auto trade and a sunset clause, remain.
Some speculate that the trade agreement renegotiation effort will stretch into the upcoming Mexican election cycle, a timeline that negotiators had hoped to avoid.
Farmers for Free Trade, a bipartisan campaign focusing on NAFTA, says it is “heartening” to see progress but notes that further delays create more uncertainty for U.S. farmers.
Lighthizer said Monday that the U.S. is “committed to moving forward” with the renegotiation effort.
Two more rounds are scheduled, one in Mexico next month, and a hopeful final round in Washington, D.C. in March.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.