Trade deal possible with Canada, minus Mexico

Trade deal possible with Canada, minus Mexico

Mexico's ambassador in Washington Geronimo Gutierrez has said a termination clause would erode business confidence in the region, while his Canadian counterpart has said the Trump administration probably wouldn't find much domestic support for the proposal.

Stephen Harper says he believes Donald Trump is genuinely willing to pull the plug on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In comments made at the White House with Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada, ahead of the start of fourth round of talks, Trump warned it was "possible" that the U.S. would drop out of the 1994 deal. "So we'll see what happens with Nafta, but I've been opposed to Nafta for a long time, in terms of the fairness of Nafta".

Following his visit to Washington, Trudeau is due to travel to Mexico, where he will meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto.

"Some of us in Mexico think that on several occasions our Canadian friends have come close to throwing us under the bus", Arturo Sarukhan, the former Mexican ambassador to the USA, said at a NAFTA-related event Wednesday in D.C.

Prior to sitting down with Trudeau, Trump said it would be fine if NAFTA was terminated, although members of Congress expressed hope earlier in the day it could be reworked. Speaking in Mexico on Tuesday, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Thomas J. Donohue, said the negotiations had "reached a critical moment".

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Mexico appears to be preparing for the worst as the fourth round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement open in Washington DC. Trump's stance has, however, been criticised by United States businesses.

"Even worse, withdrawal from NAFTA would put at stake millions of American jobs in every sector of the US economy, the competitiveness of USA -produced goods and services, and our country's standing as a global economic leader", Bolten said.

Mexico and Canada would fare better because they previously charged higher tariffs than the United States and would revert to those levels. "It makes sense to modernize it", said Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. "We'll see if we can do the kind of changes that we need".

On automotive rules of origin, NAFTA negotiators face tough new USA demands to increase regional vehicle content to 85 percent from 62.5 percent, with 50 percent required from the United States, according to people briefed on the plan. "There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal". US negotiators have countered with a proposal that would effectively grant the other countries less access, people familiar with the talks say.

Mr James Keith, a former United States ambassador and managing director for China and South-east Asia at Washington-based McLarty Associates, told The Straits Times that there is unlikely to be action on trade negotiations with Asian partners until Mr Trump completes a visit to South-east Asia and North-east Asia next month.

On Thursday, the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA) said proposed changes to NAFTA would likely increase the cost of vehicles.

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