The fifth round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement ended on Tuesday with the New York Times calling the discussions “bogged down.” While the U.S. has tried to cool down tensions between negotiators by extending the deadline to finish the discussions, tensions are said to still be simmering.
The U.S. also asked the top negotiators to sit out the round in Mexico City to help keep things cool. The Times report says Canada and Mexico both told the U.S. it won’t make a lot of headway with its current approach to the negotiations. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says, “There’s no evidence that Canada and Mexico are willing to seriously engage on provisions that would lead to a more balanced agreement. Absent rebalancing, we will not reach a satisfactory result.”
Mexico fired back with a tough counterproposal to an American suggestion regarding a new idea on Canada and Mexico procuring American government contracts. Mexico suggested the idea of linking procurement of its government contracts to the size of contracts Mexican companies win in the United States. Mexican businesses typically win few American contracts, which would, in turn, limit the number of American goods and services supplied to the Mexican government.