NAFTA Trade Ministers to Square Off Over Hard-Line US Demands

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Government officials from Canada and Mexico slammed the Trump administration's proposals to renegotiate NAFTA in front of the top US trade negotiator on Tuesday.

Canada and Mexico have locked arms in opposition to a USA proposal that the trade agreement should come up for renewal every five years, a change meant to assure that the agreement stay up-to-date as the economies of the three countries change over time.

At the same press conference after a fourth round of talks, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said some of the Nafta proposals would have run counter to World Trade Organization rules.

Trump withdrew the United States from the TPP - a deal between the USA and 11 other Asia-Pacific nations - shortly after taking office.

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"Simply put, we can not afford for the United States to abandon free trade", Hun Quach, the group's head of trade policy, said in an emailed statement.

But uncertainty reigned at the end of the talks with a gloom dominating the negotiations with Mexico and Canada this time around after USA trade officials proposed several provisions that both countries considered nonstarters.

The U.S. proposal would also require that cars sold into the United States be 50 percent manufactured here in order to qualify for special NAFTA status.

The next round of talks will take place in November in Mexico.

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The Trudeau government promised to keep the management of the offer, arguing that the United States kept to their side several of the programs of support to their own farmers.

The canadian government has said that this proposal was doomed to failure. The Trump administration has proposed that at least 50% of the content in cars must be made in the US for vehicles from Mexico and Canada to enter the USA duty-free.

"If we do that it's a whole new ballgame going forward and I think there are ways to do that if we have something balanced", he said. By Monday, Mexico's peso MXN=D2 hit a near five-month low with fears growing about the future of the deal underpinning $1.2 trillion in annual trade between the three countries.

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