NAFTA talks focus on procurement amid doubts over deal chances


"We're here to announce the delivery of petitions with 400,000 signatures from Americans demanding that any trade agreement eliminate rules that let businesses outsource jobs", said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., a veteran lawmaker known for her ability to marshal colleagues' votes.

Canada and Mexico want their companies to be able to bid on more USA federal and state government contracts, but this is at odds with Trump's "Buy American" agenda.

"It is possible that we may not be able to hear us with one or the other of the two countries", said the billionaire Donald Trump in front of reporters in the oval Office before the meeting between the two leaders.

Blowing up the deal appears to be Trump's favored choice.

WASHINGTON-Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emerged from a day of meetings in the US capital Wednesday continuing to champion a continental trade deal that many around him suggest may be doomed.

Asked about Trump's comments at a news conference later, Trudeau said he was still optimistic about the chances of modernizing the 1994 trade pact.

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If the USA can't strike a NAFTA 2.0 deal, Farm Journal Washington correspondent Jim Wiesemeyer says that's a question no one wants to answer.

In an interview with Forbes Magazine, Trump thinks NAFTA will need to be tossed to make it better.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue, speaking in Mexico City on Tuesday, said the rules of origin proposal would send more business overseas.

Both Canada and the U.S. differ in the climate change. We must stop allowing companies to abuse their workers to gain a competitive edge.

But US business groups have expressed grave concern over Trump's threat to pull out. We're going to do well. The original free trade agreement signed between the United States and Canada in 1988 did not include Mexico.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, the largest agriculture association in the US, joined with Farmers for Free Trade to advocate for staying in NAFTA, arguing that without multi-lateral trade deals, other nations will work with each other and leave the USA on the outside.

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Rep. Richard Neal of MA, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said he hopes NAFTA will expand Canadian market access for US cultural industries and "will be an opportunity to update intellectual property rules".

Under current rules, at least 62% of the parts in a auto sold in North America must come from the region to avoid being hit with taxes at the border. In addition, the United States wants to add a new 50 percent US -specific content requirement, something that was not in the earlier agreements.

Despite their common ground, however, Canada and Mexico are also at odds on some key issues.

"I think it's just a bridge too far", said Wendy Cutler, the Asia Society's Washington policy director and former chief US negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal canceled by Trump.

One of the most contentious US proposals is around so-called rules of origin for vehicles, which govern what share of a auto must be built within NAFTA countries to receive the pact's benefits. The talks are scheduled to conclude October 16. The negotiations were extended on Wednesday by two days to Oct 17.

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