The leaders of the United States and Canada expressed optimism on Wednesday that they could reach new NAFTA deal by a Friday deadline as negotiators prepared to talk through the night, although Canada warned that a number of tricky issues remained.
The ministers leading the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could meet again on Thursday in Washington as they push for quick progress, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo advanced. Guajardo said he had spoken to Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Monday and would talk to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to see about agreeing a trilateral meeting in Washington on Thursday.
Some countries are now likely to be spared from planned tariffs on metals advocated by U.S. President Donald Trump. White House sources said Trump's controversial tariff plan could be put into action at a signing ceremony on Thursday afternoon.
Mexican buyers imported ten times more corn from Brazil last year amid concern that NAFTA renegotiations could disrupt their U.S. supplies, according to government data and top grains merchants. Mexico is on track to buy more Brazilian corn in 2018, which would hurt a U.S. agricultural sector already struggling with low grains prices and the rising competitive threat from South America.
The Canadian government plans to open free trade talks with the four-nation Mercosur trading bloc in South America at a time when the future of NAFTA is facing increasing uncertainty. Canada sends around 75% of its goods exports to the United States and is looking for new markets to reduce the reliance on its southern neighbor.
Canada has filed an expansive complaint with the World Trade Organization accusing the US of breaking international trade rules. The complaint challenges the ways that the US investigates products for subsidies and below-cost sales. As expected the US called the claims unfounded.
United States, Canada and Mexico on Wednesday in Ottawa held their first summit after years of aloofness and held themselves up as an example against growing protectionist tendencies around the world.
US President Barack Obama joined the Mexican and Canadian leaders Wednesday for a North American summit focused on trade but marked by friction between the three amigos. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto shook hands with Obama in an ornate state government palace in Toluca, near Mexico City, for private one-on-one talks before Prime Minister Stephen Harper joined them later.
The President Barack Obama administration is “exploring” a regional trade plan for the Americas that would be the most ambitious hemispheric initiative in years, but contrary to the failed experience of George Bush's FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas), this time it would be instrumented through Nafta (North American Free Trade Agreement) partners Mexico and Canada, according to a Miami Herald interview of Andres Oppenheimer with Secretary of State John Kerry.
The newly-formed Pacific Alliance bloc seems more like a political club to counterbalance the Atlantic-facing, Brazil-led Mercosur group. However, the bloc accounts for 30% of India’s trade with Latin America. Can India engage the group so it is not left out from their Asia focus?