NAFTA: Lighthizer hints Mexico pact may need to be reopened if delayed

Cornelia Mascio
Settembre 26, 2018

Major disagreements remain over Canada's dairy management program, a dispute resolution process and the fate of USA tariffs on metals imports from Canada.

The Trump administration and the Mexican government want the agreement signed before the Mexican president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, takes office in December. "If Canada comes along now, that would be the best". Another sticking point is Canada's protected dairy industry, which isn't in the current deal but where the USA wants concessions. "But we're going to have a high-standard deal".

For the first time, however, Lighthizer said that the Trump administration will not abandon the talks with Canada even if Canada does not immediately join the U.S. -Mexico deal he says he plans to submit to Congress at the end of September. "We don't want to do this, we're raising prices for consumers, but we can not not respond to punitive tariffs that don't make a lot of sense".

The Trade Representative is supposed to meet with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland sometime during the United Nations General Assembly meeting in NY, but an unnamed senior administration official said that chances of a last-minute deal are slim.

Canada is failing to make concessions needed to reach a deal with the United States for a trilateral NAFTA pact, and is running out of time before Washington proceeds with a Mexico-only agreement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Tuesday.

The U.S. Trade Representative named the Chapter 19 dispute resolution system, which Canada wants to preserve, and American access to Canada's protected dairy market as the major sticking points in a pact.

The flags of Canada, Mexico and the US are seen on a lectern before a joint news conference on the closing of the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City, Mexico, March 5, 2018.

Canada also has made clear the United States needs to withdraw Trump's threat of a 25 percent tariff on autos for a deal to be possible. "There are issues of dairy and Chapter 19", he said. "We certainly want to have an agreement with Canada". "I think our view is that now we'll turn to that as the next stage".

Trudeau said Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, enacted on grounds of national security, are "a tool that the president has to use and he is using them because I think there's a sense that there are other tools that have to go through Congress that he doesn't get to use".

Canadian officials say that despite the USA threats to go it alone with Mexico, they do not believe Trump can by himself turn the 1994 pact into a bilateral deal. Lighthizer said those tariffs would be addressed once NAFTA had been completed. Congress could, however, choose to accept a two-way deal regardless.

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE