NAFTA Update

Cabinet-level negotiators from Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. have been meeting again in Washington in an attempt to reach an agreement this month before elections in both the U.S. and Mexico. After eight months of negotiation rounds, several contentious issues must be resolved including the U.S. demand for strict rules of origin, seasonal barriers to agriculture trade, U.S. efforts to open Canada’s dairy industry to foreign competition, the future of the agreement’s dispute-resolution mechanism and the U.S. proposal for a sunset clause that calls for renegotiations every five years.

Mexican Minister of Economy, Idelfonso Guajardo, has pressed to continue working on all pending issues to keep moving towards an agreement. However, the U.S. has announced a plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico by June 1st if an agreement is not reached by then.