The North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation effort will return to Washington, D.C. this month for the fourth round of official talks.
The negotiations will resume October 11th through the 15th, following a round of talks in Canada last month. Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said progress was made in the most recent meetings “on a number of bread-and-butter trade issues.” Meanwhile, the U.S. has yet to introduce a proposal to increase protections for seasonal and perishable produce.
The tabled issue is being closely watched by agriculture groups, Including the National Pork Producers Council, which says the proposal could provoke America’s NAFTA partners to push for mechanisms that make it easier to restrict U.S. farm exports. By U.S. law and official notices to Congress, the earliest a deal can be agreed upon and concluded is March of next year.
But, Forbes speculates that would be too close to the midterm election cycle, as a comment period would extend into September 2018, even at the fastest pace, likely putting the potential final approval of a new NAFTA in 2019.