The effort to conclude an updated framework for the North American Free Trade Agreement may not be concluded this year, according to sources familiar with the talks going on between U.S., Canadian, and Mexican trade representatives.
Passed in 1994, NAFTA created a trilateral trade block in North America with reduced tariffs for a variety of equipment and goods, including such construction industry essentials as pumps, motors, and actuators.
In a statement, Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative, said current NAFTA negotiations have “covered a wide variety of complex issues, especially those objectives outlawed by Congress as part of the bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority such as intellectual property, dairy, and agriculture.”
But those negotiations are coming up against an earlier-declared deadline of July 1, when the voters of Mexico will go to the polls to elect a new president. The current front-runner in that race, Manuel Lopez Obrador, has been critical of the original NAFTA document, and said, if elected, he is likely to work against ratifying an updated framework that is hastily put together.
One of the issues thought to be challenging NAFTA negotiators is a move by the U.S. wanting to see larger portions of cars built inside the U.S., with Mexican officials saying such a stipulation would negatively impact higher-paid auto workers in Mexico.
By Garry Boulard
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