USTR's Lighthizer says White House not actively working to withdraw from NAFTA

Posted October 18, 2017

If the deal falls apart there is no economic analysis as to what would happen but Lighthizer said "my guess is all three countries would do just fine".

"Frankly, I am surprised and disappointed by the resistance to change from our negotiating partners on both fronts", he said during a press conference on Tuesday.

"If they react negatively [to USA proposals], it may be enough for the U.S.to say, 'Enough, we're pulling out, '" said William Reinsch, a veteran Washington trade specialist who is a fellow at the Stimson Center think tank.

The canadian government has said that this proposal was doomed to failure.

"This is why Canada is so appreciative of Mexico's support for a gender chapter in the modernization of NAFTA. this is a progressive step forward that we can't afford not to take".

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The sources say Canadian negotiators are calling the demand "a non-starter". 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. Critics say this has allowed manufacturers to use NAFTA to get around USA import taxes while doing a substantial amount of manufacturing in China and other countries outside North America. US auto executives, meanwhile, worry that such stringent rules of origin would be a bureaucratic nightmare to implement and wreck the sophisticated, integrated North American supply chain that has taken decades to develop. "Countries are reluctant to give up unfair advantages".

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.

Mexico will host the fifth round of talks in November, and additional talks will be held next year.

Mexican economist and financial analyst Luis Rubio said the greatest danger to Mexico if NAFTA is scrapped is loss of confidence in the nation as a place for investment.

But Lighthizer said that it wasn't a hard target and it was agreed by the negotiators to push into next year.