Representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico proceed with trade negotiations in Montreal as the sixth round talks continue.
Despite US President Donald Trump’s threats to abandon the tri-national North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the talks seem to be going “pretty well,” the American leader said Tuesday.
Thirty discussion tables will argue the importance of numerous proposals for agreement revisions leading up to the press conference scheduled for Jan. 29, with Mexico’s Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo and US ambassador Robert Lighthizer.
“We have come to Montreal with a lot of new ideas, a lot of creative strategies to try to bridge some of the gaps in the negotiations,” Canadian chief negotiator Steve Verheul told reporters, adding that he had “high hopes” of progress.
Throughout the sixth rounds of talks, Trump has remained adamant on a number of alterations to the 1994 trade deal, and sources say Canadian and Mexican authorities are prepared to be flexible on a few demands, Reuters reports.
One of these is the U.S. proposal that American-made autos be increased to monopolize 50 percent of the market, thereby qualifying for duty-free status.
Mexico’s chief negotiator, Ken Smith, said he hopes the international convention will make progress in the telecommunications, anti-corruption, sanitary, and phytosanitary sectors.
Negotiators were hoping to complete talks prior to the Mexican presidential elections and US mid-term senatorial elections. However, in view of the US position, economics experts from Mexico's JP Morgan doubt trade talks will be resolved before 2019.