Mexico will leave NAFTA talks if Trump triggers process to withdraw

13 January, 2018, 05:08 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks to the media as she arrives for the first day of a cabinet retreat in London Ont. Thursday

"The President of Mexico (Enrique Pena Nieto) has been very clear: Mexico will never pay for this wall", Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo wrote on Twitter after a day of meetings in Washington. "We make a good deal on Nafta, and, say, I'm going to take a small percentage of that money and it's going toward the wall". The sixth round of talks is scheduled to start January 23 in Montreal.

The question now is whether the president will decide to blow up NAFTA (or at least try - the legal mechanisms for withdrawal are uncertain and Congress may block a USA exit).

He said the progressive agenda remains a priority for the Trudeau government but the U.S.is really frustrated by the rejection of proposals the Canadian side has labelled "non-starters" - the inclusion of a five-year sunset clause; the scrapping of the dispute resolution mechanism; strict US content rules in autos; the end of supply management; and the opening up of Canadian government procurement.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the WTO filing was a "broad and ill-advised attack".

And it sparked concern among trade experts that it will only antagonize U.S. President Donald Trump and increase the already high likelihood that he'll pull the plug on NAFTA.

"I think the American colleagues understand when you stand strong in sending a message that said, 'We will stand up for the forest industry, we will stand up for the aerospace industry, we'll stand up for Canadian workers", Champagne said. Or does it include R & D - the stuff that makes it take five years to bring a auto to the assembly line - the stuff people would be paying for if you sold off GM.

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A spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland - in overall charge of U.S.

Morneau emphasized the need to work harder to come to an agreement on a renewed NAFTA, although he too said he's prepared for any scenario.

She said Canada had always taken the position that it's not helpful to impose artificial deadlines on the talks, such as the current schedule of rounds set to end in March. "I thought that was a constructive proposal from the president", said Freeland.

On NAFTA, Freeland said she remains optimistic that a deal can be reached.

While the US has been clear there was a possibility it would withdraw from the agreement, Canadian officials believe a positive outcome is possible "if there is goodwill on all sides", Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters Thursday.

"The reality is that NAFTA is going to fall apart, whether or not it falls apart in Montreal or in the next round, NAFTA is not going to be renewed, the USA has far too many poison demands on the table ..." Ujczo said the lobbying efforts may be convincing Trump that Article 2205 is less of a useful negotiating tactic - and more of a "Pandora's Box", that once opened, can disrupt markets and raise the risk of the deal truly ending, which he said he does not believe Trump actually wants. Canada is hoping to win USA support for an idea that might achieve its key goal of ensuring American content in cars, while limiting disruptions to current supply chains.

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