The current agreement allows binational panels of private experts to decide differences
The flags of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are lit by stage lights before a news conference, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, at the start of NAFTA renegotiations in Washington. photo: AP/Jacquelyn Martin, photo: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
01 of September 2017 14:51:21
MEXICO CITY – A second round of talks on re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) began Friday with officials expressing optimism despite President Donald Trump's suggestions he could withdraw the United States from the 23-year-old trade pact.https://youtu.be/hFyVp-gabp4Delegations from the United States, Mexico and Canada gathered at a Mexico City hotel for discussions that the country's Economy Secretary said would focus on issues such as rules-of-origin, electronic commerce, the environment and anti-corruption measures."There are conditions to negotiate, despite some statements," said Gerardo Gutiérrez Candiani, head of Mexico's Special Economic Zones (ZEE) agency.On Wednesday, Trump said: "We've got to change this deal, and hopefully we can renegotiate it, but if we can't we'll terminate it and we'll start all over again with a real deal."Among other things, Washington wants local-content rules tightened to avoid imports largely made in third countries from being considered "made in North America" just because they were assembled in Mexico.https://youtu.be/99TCUcbUxS8Gutiérrez Candiani said other issues on the table include labor standards and dispute resolution mechanisms. The United States also opposes the current system of private arbitration panels.Gutiérrez Candiani acknowledged that "they are not agile enough, and mechanisms have to be sought that are more agile, more reliable."The current agreement allows binational panels of private experts to decide differences, making it harder for one nation to unilaterally impose tariffs on another.The United States wants to eliminate those panels, but Canada and Mexico fear that would allow it to throw its greater weight around and impose tariffs on imports that allegedly harm local producers or are being "dumped," or sold below their real price.Talks of more such tariffs drew concern from a newly formed alliance of U.S. and Canadian fruit and vegetable companies.