The seventh round of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) wrapped up Monday in Mexico City. The three countries have taken some incremental steps toward agreements on some of the lower-level issues.
However, trade negotiators and almost anyone else interested in the NAFTA negotiations acknowledged that the looming threat of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum was overshadowing any progress that was made. Negotiators said most of their weekend meetings started off talking about tariffs instead of the agreement itself.
After the sixth round, Politico says there was a feeling of accomplishment as all three countries felt the others were getting more engaged in the process. A business source told Politico that round seven has felt a little more “anticlimactic” because of the tariff news, which took up a lot of time and energy in Mexico City. Negotiators didn’t spend a lot with some of the heavier issues, including automotive rules-of-origin and investor-state dispute settlement.
There has been some progress made in areas like a chapter on good regulatory practices, which was closed last Thursday. Other chapters on the discussion scheduled in round seven included sanitary and phytosanitary chapters, as well as telecommunications. Roughly half of the agreement’s chapters are between 80 and 90 percent completed.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.