An intersessional round of negotiations for NAFTA were held in Washington, D.C. from December 9th to 15th, 2017. Lead negotiators from each country agreed to postpone the most controversial chapters until the sixth round of negotiations which will take place January 23rd-28th in Montreal, Canada. These remaining issues include rules of origin on U.S.-made content in the automotive sector, restrictions on agricultural products, and the five year sunset clause proposal.
Significant progress was made on chapters related to anticorruption, enterprises managed by the State, environment, financial services, and telecommunications. It is expected that the sixth round of negotiations allows the completion of some chapters and critical agreements in controversial topics.
U.S. Senator Jeff Flake recently spoke to address the economic consequences of leaving NAFTA, including the fact that Mexico spends 26 percent of its GDP on American goods, the increase of poverty and unemployment in the U.S. due to millions of jobs depending on trade, and potential rise of illegal immigration. A video of Sen. Flake’s remarks can be viewed here.
The Chamber continues its advocacy efforts to educate Congress and the business community on the importance of NAFTA and the positive economic impact it has had on the region and nation. On December 12, 2017, The Chamber submitted a letter for the record to the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade which held a hearing titled: “The Future of the North American Free Trade Agreement”. You can read the letter here.
Additionally, on January 3rd, Chamber’s Vice President Paola Avila spoke as Chair of the Border Trade Alliance with host Ezra Shabot of Mexico’s MVS Noticias about the ongoing NAFTA negotiations. You can listen to the interview here.
Avila highlighted that negotiations must be addressed with urgency in order to minimize the uncertainty in the North American economy.