U.S. reportedly drops protectionist auto demand in NAFTA talks
One of the most contentious issues in NAFTA renegotiations has reportedly been pulled off the table.
The U.S. has dropped its demand that autos exported from Canada and Mexico into the States must be at least half-built with American content, according to a report in The Globe and Mail.
“If the report is true, the U.S.’s willingness to remove the 50 per cent domestic content demand represents a genuine interest in moving the talks forward on autos and a recognition that such a demand would have had serious negative implications,” wrote Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association President Mark Nantais in an email to BNN.
The apparent breakthrough reportedly happened last week while Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland was holding meetings in Washington, D.C.
NAFTA talks have been ongoing since August. The seventh round of renegotiations wrapped up in Mexico City earlier this month; at the time, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer expressed frustration with the amount of progress that was being made.
Indeed, there is a renewed sense of urgency to reach a deal as the Mexican presidential election and U.S. mid-terms loom later this year.
"If we don't have a resolution within the next month or so, very likely it will be kicked over for quite a little while because of the election cycle," U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told a U.S. House Committee on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for Freeland declined to comment on the specifics of the Globe’s report when reached by BNN, only saying in an email that Canada “continues to work well with the Americans [on NAFTA].”
A representative for Canadian Ambassador David MacNaughton declined to comment when contacted by BNN.