Chief Canadian NAFTA negotiator not expecting progress on auto content rules - InfoNews

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Chief Canadian NAFTA negotiator not expecting progress on auto content rules

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left, shakes hands with Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, accompanied by Mexico's Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, after they spoke at a news conference, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, at the start of NAFTA renegotiations in Washington.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
September 23, 2017 - 9:30 AM

OTTAWA - Despite tough talk from the U.S. about the job-killing impact of NAFTA on its automotive sector, Canada's chief negotiator isn't expecting to see a detailed proposal from the Americans during the latest round of talks to rewrite the continental trade pact.

Steve Verheul says he doesn't expect anything "radically new" from the American negotiating team.

Verheul made the comments on his way into a meeting with his U.S. and Mexican counterparts as the third round of negotiations got under way today in Ottawa.

Under the current terms of NAFTA, vehicles must have at least 62.5 per cent North American content to qualify for duty-free movement between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has said he wants to see an increase in that content requirement and a specific requirement for American content; but the U.S. has yet to table any details during the negotiations.

Reports suggest the U.S. is looking at raising the North American content to more than 70 per cent and adding an American content requirement of anywhere from 35 to 50 per cent.

Canadian officials believe resolving American concerns about the exodus of automotive jobs to low-wage Mexico is the key to staving off U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to rip up NAFTA.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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