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NAFTA Renegotiations Begin in Washington with Tight Schedule

By: Elena Toledo - @NenaToledo - Aug 21, 2017, 12:17 pm
Mexican businessmen warn that they are not ruling out the possibility of a NAFTA member leaving the negotiating table. (Twitter)

EspañolThe first round of NAFTA renegotiations finished up this Sunday, August 20 in Washington, during which each of the three countries discussed their primary intentions and agreed to various potential modifications.

“The negotiations will continue at a fast pace, continue in Canada in late September, and return to the United States in October, with additional rounds planned for the rest of the year,” the United States, Canada and Mexico said in a joint statement.

This “accelerated” schedule is not a new development, as Mexico and the United States have pushed hard on NAFTA renegotiations. From the beginning, they both wanted the process to be quick so as to avoid issues related to domestic policy and to prevent any possibility of the negotiation process being tarnished amid 2018 elections in both countries.

The first round in Washington highlighted issues in the rules of origin in the automotive sector and Chapter 19, according to press releases; however, the agenda for this first round of negotiations also included financial services, investment, digital commerce and the textile sector, SMEs, barriers to trade and government purchases.

“We see that there is interest in our governments agreeing to an update and modernization of the treaty,” said Juan Pablo Castañón, President of the Business Coordinating Council.

Castañón did not refuse to let any of the member countries leave the negotiating table during the process, a possibility that threatens both the federal and business sectors of  Mexico.

The next round of renegotiation will take place in Mexico City from September 1 to 5.

Source: Milenio

Elena Toledo Elena Toledo

Educator by trade, social-media apprentice, activist for a democratic Honduras, and free thinker. Follow her on Twitter @NenaToledo.