The fifth round of NAFTA talks resumed Wednesday in Mexico City without the presence of trade ministers, after they held “substantial” discussions at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation gathering in Vietnam last week, according to a joint statement.
It is the first time Chrystia Freeland, Robert Lighthizer, and Ildefonso Guajardo have not shown up in five negotiating rounds.
The first two days were set to focus on the issues of textiles, labor and intellectual property. Other topics to be discussed in the round scheduled to end November 21 are e-commerce and telecommunications.
There are 28 negotiating areas in total, with the most contentious U.S. demands being on dairy, automotive content, dispute panels, government procurement and the five-year sunset clause.
Lawmakers reject rules of origin proposal
A bipartisan group of more than 70 members of the U.S. House of Representatives urged the Trump administration on Wednesday not to boost current production requirements on vehicle content for autos produced in the region under the North American Free Trade Agreement, Reuters reported citing an internal letter.
The House members include many from auto-producing states such as Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Steve Cohen of Tennessee, Mike Bishop of Michigan and Terri Sewell of Alabama.
Lawmakers argued the measure “would eliminate the competitive advantages provided to the U.S. auto industry under the current NAFTA rules – or lead to rejection by Canada and Mexico and the end of the agreement”.
“Either outcome would adversely affect the U.S. auto industry - reducing sales, production, and exports and harming U.S. workers in the process,” says the document.