NAFTA: Litmus Test on a Deal Will Come Over Next Few Days

While the NAFTA renegotiation talks proceed between now and March, Sanderson Farms and the poultry industry as a whole might take a bit of comfort from the optimistic position reportedly being taken by David MacNaughton, the Canadian ambassador to the U.S.

Talks to renegotiate NAFTA - in effect since 1994 between the U.S., Mexico and Canada - are now in their sixth round.

As NAFTA redo negotiations resumed in Montreal, the Canadian negotiators floated the idea of providing credit for North American investment, which would count toward a.

Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw the United States from the trade agreement if he can't get a better deal for US workers.

The big unknown is how the United States will respond.

The proposal is the latest signal that Canada and Mexico are aiming to show flexibility and engage with USA negotiators at the bargaining table.

The officials, speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of NAFTA talks here, said strenuous lobbying efforts on behalf of the industry were starting to sink in with some key members of the Trump administration.

The Canadian idea that the North American content rules be modernized to include software and other costs of new technologies is backed by the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, a group that represents US auto parts companies.

Will he or won't he pull the US out of NAFTA?

Wendy Cutler, who worked for 30 years in the United States Trade Representative's office, said the president has the ability to withdraw but that it's unclear what would happen to the schedule of tariffs that were approved under the agreement.

Senator Chuck Grassley is a Republican U.S. senator from Iowa and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday said "there's a good chance" the talks would be successful.

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But White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later that day that a deal had not yet been reached . Democrats for their part are quick to point out the GOP controls the White House and both chambers of Congress.

Unifor President Jerry Dias, whose union represents auto-workers, was livid over Canada's move to agree to such low rules of origin, saying it will allow Japanese automakers to use a lot more cheap-labour and particularly Chinese-made parts for their cars, that can now be shipped into Canada tariff-free, and will displace Canadian automakers and workers as a result.

Insiders say the Canadian and Mexican governments are prepared to be flexible on a US demand that the amount of North American content in autos be boosted to qualify for duty-free status in NAFTA.

A US pullout from the North American Free Trade Agreement would cost the nation at least 1.8 million jobs and trickle down to affect the output of every USA sector, according to a study commissioned for the Business Roundtable.

It also insists that 50 percent of the content of every vehicle produced in the region come from the United States, an option that Canada and Mexico have dismissed as unworkable.

"Our concern is our government is a pro "free-trade" government", regardless of who's Prime Minister, Rowlinson said in a telephone interview.

Workers in both nations say more high-paying jobs, in factories and services, could be lost with a new NAFTA.

He added that Trump has already said Britain will be at the "front of the line" in trade negotiations.

Influential U.S. lawmakers who could have the final say on the fate of NAFTA were travelling to Montreal Friday to get an update on negotiations.

Union leaders hope the complaint will help push the USA toward stronger labor laws as NAFTA negotiations continue.

Canada's chief negotiator said he's hoping for movement.

"I think we have to wait for Ambassador Lighthizer to be here because obviously the USA negotiators need a mandate".


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