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Asked if Freeland agreed with her USA counterpart Robert Lighthizer that the pace of Nafta talks should pick up, she said, "all of us would like the negotiations to be finished as soon as possible". Along the way, USTR Robert Lighthizer rejected Canadian ideas for resolving the thorny automotive rules-of-origin issue.

Canada's auto proposals presented in Montreal didn't include any specific numbers, Freeland said, and negotiators have said they weren't meant to be counter-proposals to the rules of origin ratios the USA has put forth. Trade officials agreed on a new treaty's anti-corruption provisions and narrowed the gaps over customs issues. "The U.S. ... administration is different".

While additional NAFTA negotiation rounds are scheduled throughout the spring, Salmonsen is optimistic.

Mexico ships sugar to the United States and was found guilty of breaking US trade laws by dumping subsidized sugar on the USA market in 2013 and 2014, Van Driessche said.

Speaking out is very important, even if sometimes the fight is long and it takes a while to see any changes (take those 5 years of campaigning against the TPP until we saw a somewhat improved agreement, for instance).

"We find that the automobile rules of origin idea that was presented, when analyzed, may actually lead to less regional content than we have now and fewer jobs in the United States, Canada, and likely Mexico", U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said January 29 at the conclusion of the negotiating round.

Foreign purchasers would shift away from US goods and services in favor of lower-cost goods and services made in other global markets, particularly those made in Asia. That is 25% of all USA small-business exports.

Canada, the United States and Mexico are facing down a March deadline to renegotiate the 25-year-old deal, which allows for the free flow of goods between all three countries.

According to a media report, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is hopeful for a future in NAFTA.

Some contentious areas appear to have purposely remained off the table in the sixth round.

Cleroux said the economic benefit to both countries will convince the US government to stay in NAFTA.

"It's not the easiest negotiation", the president added, before pledging he will "make it fair to you people again".

Clearly there remains quite a bit of work to be done.

And, in another hopeful sign, Lighthizer said the administration would request extension of trade promotion authority, which structures how the executive branch negotiates trade policy and submits agreements for approval to Congress.

Nevertheless, prudent business planning requires that businesses provide for a contingency plan by first assessing the impact of a failure to reach a final agreement for an amended NAFTA, and then considering means of mitigating the detrimental economic impact, which may include diversifying trade based on the existence of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the new Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). NAFTA requires a vehicle to have a certain percentage of North American content in order to benefit from tariff exemptions, and the US has proposed raising the bar to 85% from 62.5% for a typical auto.


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