Published On: Sun, Nov 19th, 2017

‘No fireworks’ at NAFTA talks, but few signs of progress (REUTERS)

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Negotiations in Mexico to update NAFTA have not made much progress on tough U.S. demands that could sink the 1994 trade pact, but the current round of talks are progressing with civility, some participants said on Saturday November 18.

Officials from the United States, Canada and Mexico are meeting in Mexico City for the fifth of seven planned rounds to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, from which U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw.

Time is running short to seal a deal by the deadline of end-March 2018. Officials say next year’s Mexican presidential election means talks after that date will not be possible.

The U.S. administration has made demands that the other members say are unacceptable, such as a five-year “sunset” clause and tightening so-called rules of origin to boost the North American content of autos.

A NAFTA banner is seen during the fifth round of NAFTA talks involving the United States, Mexico and Canada, in Mexico City, Mexico, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

A NAFTA banner is seen during the fifth round of NAFTA talks involving the United States, Mexico and Canada, in Mexico City, Mexico, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

“It is very slow moving but there are no fireworks,” said a Canadian source with knowledge of the talks, adding there had “not been much conversation at all” on the more contentious U.S. proposals.

Within hours of the latest round of talks formally starting on Friday, Canada was complaining about inflexibility by the United States.

Officials have so far discussed other issues such as labor, gender, intellectual property, energy and telecommunications but it is too soon to say whether there will be any breakthroughs this round, added a source familiar with the talks.

“The work is moving forward,” Mexican deputy economy minister Juan Carlos Baker told reporters, adding that the three countries had prioritized technical work in Mexico City.

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Source: Yahoo News

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