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March 8, 2018
Round Seven of NAFTA negotiations brings agreement on three more chapters
Canada, Mexico and the United States concluded, in Mexico City on March 5, the seventh round of renegotiation and modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Three more chapters were concluded this week, on regulatory practices, administration and publication, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures, as well as plus annexes on chemicals and proprietary food formulas. Together with the previously closed chapters on competition, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and anti-corruption, the negotiators have completed six chapters.
In a closing statement United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer said: "Now our time is running very short. On July 1, as everyone here knows, Mexico will choose a new president. That campaign as I understand it begins in earnest just next month. But Mexico is not the only NAFTA country in the midst of elections. Both Ontario and Quebec have elections scheduled later this year. Finally, the United States has mid-term elections coming up in November. All of this complicates our work. I fear that the longer we proceed, the more political headwinds we will feel."
"I also note that in all three countries, reaching an agreement at the negotiating table is only part of the process. In the United States, after an agreement in principle is concluded, our laws require public disclosure of text, further consultations, and numerous reports before it can be considered by Congress. Thus, in the U.S., we must resolve our outstanding issues soon to maintain the possibility of having this measure be considered by the current Congress."
The next negotiating round is tentatively set to be held Washington, D.C. next month.
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