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Round Four Of NAFTA Talks End

Round Four Of NAFTA Talks End

As the Toronto Star reports, just one week after President Donald Trump embraced Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau like a faithful friend, the administration is openly feuding with Canada over NAFTA.

Canada's Chrystia Freeland said proposals created "challenges", and "turn back the clock" on NAFTA.

After four rounds of talks squeezed into a two-month period, negotiators will now allow a month-long cooling-off period before returning to the bargaining table in Mexico on November 17. Trump has blamed what he called poorly negotiated agreements for the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs that hurt the USA economy.

He added that in addition to working on alternatives to a failed NAFTA deal, his administration is looking into strengthening and diversifying commercial markets involving the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and modernized trade agreements with the European Union. "NAFTA has resulted in a huge trade deficit for the United States and has cost us tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs", said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in prepared remarks at the conclusion of the fourth round of NAFTA talks. "We must ensure the decisions we make today do not come back to haunt us tomorrow". The U.S. dairy industry has urged Lighthizer to raise the issue of Canadian dairy policies that keep out U.S. products. The U.S. Trade Representative's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Freeland didn't dismiss the possibility of success but said she was ready "for the worst possible outcome".

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TPP countries agreed to a joint declaration that commits them to avoid unfair currency practices and refrain from competitive devaluation.

Lighthizer said he is unsympathetic to the business community's complaints about ending the dispute settlement process that is in NAFTA and about the proposal to include a five-year sunset clause. "It is important also to remember that to some extent, NAFTA is an investment agreement, and it is unreasonable to expect that the United States will continue to encourage and guarantee USA companies to invest in Mexico and Canada primarily for export to the United States", he said.

The Brookings Institution's Dany Bahar said trade deficits are not the cause of job losses, and called the US focus misplaced.

Until Tuesday, the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) looked like it might be headed for a quick demise.

One trade official told reporters Saturday that "the atmosphere is complicated", and added that his fears about some "pretty harsh, pretty horrible" demands from the U.S. were coming true. Despite these concerns, Freeland also said she saw "concrete evidence of good will" from her USA counterparts to conclude a new NAFTA that will benefit the three trade partners. "Furthermore, including Section 230 in NAFTA in its current form would export a destructive legal battle that will harm sex trafficking victims advertised in Mexico and Canada".

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