The fifth round of negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement got off to a slow start and continue to move slowly this week. A source tells CBC dot com that negotiators have talked through a dozen topics but there hasn’t been much movement. However, that same source also says while progress has been slow, there haven’t been any fireworks behind the scenes, which is a change in tone from the last round in Washington D.C. During the previous round of negotiations, the U.S. tabled several proposals that Canada and Mexico objected to.
The U.S. is reported to be frustrated because Canada and Mexico are hesitating to give counter proposals to U.S. positions on key issues. The U.S. has made several proposals that have been referred to as “poison pills.” For example, the Trump Administration wants to raise the made-in-America requirements in the auto sector, kill Canada’s supply management program in dairy, and restrict Mexican and Canadian access to U.S. government contracts.
The CBC source said procurement was a topic during the discussions, with the U.S. showing no flexibility in its demand that Mexico and Canada’s access should be on a dollar-for-dollar basis.