NAFTA negotiators trade barbs even as they agree to extend talks

Mexico expects'win-win in NAFTA negotiations central bank

Under the sunset clause, the agreement would expire every five years unless all three nations agree to sign on for five more. President Donald Trump's musings about ending the accord have sparked public warnings from US lawmakers and the private sector about the perils of dismantling a decades-long trade deal that has helped the region's trade balloon to $1.2 trillion annually.

"The Top now has passed Trump administration", Canadian and Mexican representatives said, emphasising fact that United States would not withdraw from negotiating table. "Because of its complex supply chains that cross both borders, the auto industry would suffer the most, with autos accounting for almost 40% of exports to Canada and 22% of exports to Mexico".

"As retailers, we strongly urge all parties to preserve the parts of NAFTA that work for American businesses and to avoid proposals that would damage the USA economy and hurt American families".

Sources close to the Canadian and Mexican delegations told AFP that while U.S. demands were tough, both countries were committed to continuing with the talks.

One of these sources said that the request included an adaptation period to gradually allow access to the market, at the rate of 5 % per year.

Lighthizer said he had hoped to have cleared chapters on digital trade and telecommunications among others but talks came to a near halt after the USA introduced several contentious provisions, including a sunset clause and a rules-of-origin proposal.

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Lighthizer said he thought by now the sides would've agreed to issues including digital trade, telecommunications and anticorruption, and there's no indication of changes that would result in a reduction of the US trade deficit. "Countries are reluctant to give up unfair advantages".

Trump was propelled into the White House on a nationalist economic agenda and vowed to upend decades of prevailing trade policy, but stopped short of threats to do away with NAFTA.

While getting business and labor on board might sound like an impossible task, "the day will come" that will prove it can be done, he said.

"The exchange rate reflects different kinds of uncertainties, many of which we can not control, such as the normalization process of interest rates in the United States", said Meade, speaking at an event in Mexico City.

Negotiators had hoped to complete the agreement before the end of the year - a deadline that ahd already deemed almost impossible to meet - to avoid any interference with next year's elections in the United States and Mexico.

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