Mexico minister says can't yet see common ground to finish NAFTA talks

Mexico minister says can't yet see common ground to finish NAFTA talks

Mexico minister says can't yet see common ground to finish NAFTA talks

Trade negotiators from the United States and Canada accused each other of sabotaging attempts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement on Tuesday, even as they and Mexico agreed to extend talks into 2018.

Canada and Mexico have locked arms in opposition to a US proposal that the trade agreement should come up for renewal every five years, a change meant to assure that the agreement stay up-to-date as the economies of the three countries change over time.

Canadian and Mexican officials are loosely allied with USA industry, farm and services lobbying groups that oppose the Trump proposals and are stepping up their efforts to persuade administration officials to ease them.

Lighthizer said he has see no sign that Mexico and Canada are ready to make the major changes needed to the update pact.

One of these sources said that the request included an adaptation period to gradually allow access to the market, at the rate of 5 % per year.

"We made it clear that these are issues that from the Canadian side are non-starters", the Canadian source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told CNNMoney.

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Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, didn't mince words in response to the criticism.

Lighthizer said he had hoped to have cleared chapters on digital trade and telecommunications among others but talks came to a near halt after the USA introduced several contentious provisions, including a sunset clause and a rules-of-origin proposal.

"As retailers, we strongly urge all parties to preserve the parts of NAFTA that work for American businesses and to avoid proposals that would damage the USA economy and hurt American families".

"I'm surprised and disappointed by the resistance to change from our negotiating partners", Lighthizer said with Guajardo to his left and Freeland to his right.

Experts at the Sourcing Summit, an apparel industry conference in Manhattan, echoed retailers' concerns that the US could withdraw from Nafta or the deal could fall apart.

In the interim, the nations will take stock in the outcome of this latest round of discussions.

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