On Monday, trade representatives from Canada, Mexico, and the United States met in Montreal Canada, to conclude the sixth round of talks for the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).The US is reported to have made important advances in revising the trade deal according to President Trump’s vision for trade.
However, after 6 rounds of talks, Robert Ligthizer, the US Trade Representative, said that if all parties are looking to seal a deal and eliminate uncertainties, it is essential to move NAFTA discussions at a faster clip. Lighthizer told the press at the end of the week-long round of talks in Montreal, “We finally began to discuss the core issues, so this round was a step forward. But we are progressing very slowly.”
According to reports, it is believed that the NAFTA discussion talks will continue among the three trading partners. The meeting is scheduled to take place in Mexico City in either February or March. As per the information gathered from the six round, there are plans that the discussions could go for eighth round followed by a final round in Washington D.C. in the spring.
Lighthizer added, “Some real headway was made here today. We’re committed to moving forward.” Robert Lighthizer is hoping for breakthroughs to happen in the upcoming round that will take place in Mexico City.
“I think there is some misunderstanding here that the United States is somehow unfair in these negotiations and that is not the case,” Lighthizer said.
The economy minister of Mexico, Ildefonso Guajardo, said in a statement, “For the next round, we will still have substantial challenges to overcome. The progress made so far puts us on the right track to create landing zones to conclude the negotiation soon.”
There was an instance where Lighthizer ‘torched’ the decision of Ottawa which said to file a wide-ranging World Trade Organization case. This move was a direct challenge to the U.S. while antidumping and countervailing duty measures.
“Of course, we view this case as frivolous, but it does make one wonder if all parties are truly committed to mutually beneficial trade,” Lighthizer said.
Chrystia Freeland who is the Foreign Minister of Canada said that the abovementioned case is all about the steep duties the US has hit on the softwood lumber industry of the region. The Foreign Minister of Canada told the reporters, “I don’t think I need ever to defend Canada’s actions when it comes to protecting our workers and our industry.”