Fingers are being pointed in the negotiations currently taking place over NAFTA. American negotiators are blaming Mexican and Canadian negotiators for a refusal to “seriously engage” on U.S. proposals. Meanwhile, the Canadians and Mexicans blame the U.S. for putting forward proposals that would weaken the free trade agreement.
Jacob M. Schlesinger and Dudley Althaus report:
President Donald Trump’s chief trade negotiator issued a downbeat assessment Tuesday of efforts to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement, decrying “a lack of headway” and accusing Canada and Mexico of refusing to “seriously engage” on controversial U.S. proposals aimed at cutting the U.S. trade deficit.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer didn’t go as far as repeating Mr. Trump’s threat to pull out of the 23-year-old pact if the other parties don’t agree to American demands to “rebalance” Nafta to make it more favorable to the U.S. But he made clear he expected them to do so by next month.
”Absent rebalancing, we will not reach a satisfactory result,” Mr. Lighthizer said in a statement following the conclusion of the fifth round of Nafta renegotiation talks that ended here Tuesday. “I hope our partners will come to the table in a serious way so we can see meaningful progress before the end of the year,” he added.
Canadian and Mexican officials agreed that wide gaps remained between the parties after five days of talks, but placed blame squarely on the U.S. for putting forth a list of proposals that they said would weaken the pact, and would move its longtime focus away from creating a continental economy among the three partners to one that would do more to favor the U.S. over its neighbors.
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