USA proposes NAFTA sunset clause, raising tensions in talks

USA Trump und Trudeau im Weißen Haus | NAFTA

US negotiators on October 12 presented a proposal for a so-called "sunset clause" that would see the North American Free Trade Agreement expire after five years unless the parties can agree to extend it, according to two people familiar with the talks.

When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets President Donald Trump on Wednesday, he will try to persuade the USA leader to focus on Mexico as a source of potential problems at talks to update NAFTA.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue, speaking in Mexico City on Tuesday, said the rules of origin proposal would send more business overseas.

"It's a source of total uncertainty", said one of the NAFTA government officials familiar with details of the negotiations. Trudeau said he believed the Nafta talks could still end in a "win, win, win".

Pena Nieto's term is almost up in government and with Mexico one of the countries on Trudeau's priority list for stronger relations, one goal of this visit is to forge new relationships and cement Canada's standing in the eyes of Mexicans as a trusted partner in all things, not just trade.

Pressed over whether the NAFTA pact could degenerate into a series of bilateral deals, Trudeau said that his administration was "ready for anything and will continue to protect Canadian interests".

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As the trade talks began Wednesday, Trump, seated in the Oval Office beside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, said it was "possible" that the United States would drop out of NAFTA. Both leaders are keen to see talks succeed. In addition, the United States wants to add a new 50-percent USA -specific content requirement, something that was not in the earlier agreements.

Trump has made revamping the pact and reducing United States trade deficits a core pillar of his election campaign, but has not set out exactly what changes he would like to make.

However, a study released on Thursday by the Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association, which represents USA auto parts makers, showed the higher content requirements would lead to the loss of up to 24,000 U.S.jobs, as some companies would forgo NAFTA's tariff-free benefits and ship in more components from other countries.

He said it was important to make sure the populations affected understand how the treaty benefits them. Those "could doom the entire deal", Thomas Donohue, the Chamber's CEO said October 11. It's time after all of these years and we'll see what happens. "There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal".

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. US negotiators have countered with a proposal that would effectively grant the other countries less access, people familiar with the talks say. "Any trade proposal that makes multinational corporations nervous is a good sign that it's moving in the right direction for workers". "New or revised negotiated trade agreements should have standards that are explicit and enforceable with regular rigorous consultation".

Americans", she said, and acknowledged that changes to the deal would "of course be opposed by entrenched Washington lobbyists and trade associations.

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