key headlines: NAFTA and trade negotiations on the spotlight

There has been a fair bit of NAFTA and trade negotiation noise crossing the wires again on Tuesday.

Here are the key headlines:

  • U.S. Trade representative Lighthizer: U.S. is making progress on NAFTA talks, especially with Mexico.
  • US President Trump: interested in seeing "Reciprocal tax" on certain types of imported goods, but does not provide specifics.

Steve Verheul, who took up the role as chief NAFTA negotiator for Canada in August 2017 who would lead negotiations with American and Mexican counterparts has been speaking in Ottawa today with the following headlines. 

  • Quite close to completing some chapters such as customs, telecommunications. 
  • Has seen limited US flexibility on even some of the easier issues, this is being driven from the top.
  • Reiterates Canada concern that US auto content proposal would drive production offshore.
  • Says is no point to US proposal to set up nonbinding dispute settlement panels.
  • US procurement offer is worst offer ever made by US in a trade negotiation.
  • Will continue to put forward creative proposals to find common ground on US proposals.
  • There are large gaps between what Canada and US want to achieve on key files.
  • US team has made clear it wants concessions to benefit US economy, says Canada wants to improve the treaty.
  • Says conscience says US could initiate process to pull out of NAFTA.  Canada is ready for that.
  • This is not the kind of negotiations we are used to.
  • Canada will stay at table as long as there is a chance of achieving a good solution.
  • Negotiator says hasn't given up on hope of crafting a treaty to benefit all 3 NAFTA members.

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