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13 October 2017, 12:08 | Darnell Patrick
STEPHEN CROWLEY NYT
"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. "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".
Business leaders attending a U.S. -Mexico CEO conference said that no North American Free Trade Agreement would be better than a bad deal, as industry braces for the end of a treaty that drives $1 trillion in annual trade.
Mexico has been more assertive with Washington, talking openly about abandoning NAFTA if need be or slashing imports of USA grain.
Making a revised NAFTA deal will require flexibility from all those involved in the deal, Meyer says.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would be open to bilateral trade pacts with Mexico or Canada if a deal can not be reached to substantially revise NAFTA. The National Automobile Dealers Association said it was concerned about any changes that would make cars costlier.
The top USA business group pledged to fight to preserve the pact, a congressional committee said it was committed to successful talks, and Mexico signaled it can live without the accord.
Trudeau however said after the meeting that he remained optimistic about the prospects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as the fourth round of talks got underway outside Washington.
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People briefed on US proposals to be presented this week said Washington is seeking to sharply lift North American content threshold in vehicle manufacturing. Representatives of the auto industry warned some of the USA demands could raise prices for vehicles.
Under current rules, at least 62% of the parts in a auto sold in North America must come from the region to avoid being hit with taxes at the border. Mexico could leave NAFTA and have the strength to move on without any serious long-term structural damage to the economy, he said.
The hard issue of rules of origin will be addressed mostly at the end of the current talks, according to a schedule obtained by Reuters. Scheduled talks in this session have been extended by two days to Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a veteran Mexican diplomat has expressed fears about the possibility that NAFTA could be ditched in favour of bilateral agreements, an issue raised by Trump as well.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau, in Washington for meetings with G20 finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund, was confronted Thursday with several questions about a possible US exit from NAFTA.
Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, Canada's largest labor union, said it was clear the United States does not want a deal.
Trudeau's visit to Mexico is his first official sojourn to the country and follows Pena Nieto's visit to Canada in June 2016.
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