Market News & Headlines >> NAFTA Renegotiation Period Extended

Trade officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico concluded another round of North American Free Trade Agreement re-negotiation talks on Tuesday by agreeing to extend negotiations into early 2018, with the U.S. scrapping its end-of-year deadline for a deal.  

The extension came after a string of aggressive demands from U.S. negotiators during the recent round of talks in Washington D.C., which fueled fresh concerns about the trade pact’s future. 

The demands have given rise to speculation the Trump Administration wants NAFTA to collapse. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Tuesday afternoon at a press conference that he is not focused on terminating NAFTA and has no plan beyond trying to get an agreement. However, Lighthizer also said he believed the U.S., Canada and Mexico would do “just fine” if NAFTA were terminated.                                                                                                        

The most recent demand from the U.S. side is that Canada dismantle its system of dairy and poultry sector protections, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters News Service on Monday. The source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the U.S. wanted full access to Canadian markets within 10 years, effectively killing off supply management. Canada had already made clear the idea was a non-starter, said the source. 

Other U.S. demands include a proposal that would allow NAFTA to expire after five years unless all three countries agree to renew it and a proposal that would boost the U.S. content requirement for trucks, automobiles and large engines to enter the U.S. from Mexico and Canada duty free. Canada and Mexico have rejected the U.S. demands, but have expressed a willingness to continue negotiations.