U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer expressed concern about a “lack of headway” at the conclusion of the fifth round of talks to modernize NAFTA, observing that to date the U.S. has “seen no evidence that Canada or Mexico are willing to seriously engage on provisions that will lead to a rebalanced agreement.” On the other hand, Canada and Mexico continue to view the U.S. proposals on such key issues as auto rules of origin and dispute settlement as unfeasible.
In a brief trilateral statement issued Nov. 21, the NAFTA parties reaffirmed their commitment to move forward in all areas of the negotiations in order to wrap up the discussions as soon as possible. They also agreed to hold a sixth round of talks Jan. 23-28 in Montreal, Canada. In the meantime, negotiators will continue their work in intersessional meetings in Washington, D.C., throughout mid-December.
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